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Number of displaced people passes 80 million in 2020 - UN

Number of displaced people passes 80 million in 2020 - UN
A Congolese asylum-seeker holds her six-month-old child in Zombo, Uganda, close to border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), July 2020 (courtesy: UNHCR)   -  
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The number of people forced to flee their homes passed 80 million in 2020, the UN refugee agency said in a report released Wednesday in Geneva.

According to UNHCR’s Mid-Year Trends report on forced displacement, the figure includes 45.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs), 29.6 million refugees and others forcibly displaced outside their country, and 4.2 million asylum seekers.

The report said persecution, conflict, and human rights violations were the main factors forcing people to flee.

Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Somalia and Yemen all contributed to driving new displacements in the first half of 2020.

“We are now surpassing another bleak milestone that will continue to grow unless world leaders stop wars”, said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The Sahel region, which is battling a brutal militant insurgency has also seen fresh displacement according to the report.

The UNHCR said plans to resettle refugees were affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus. 

The report adds that at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in April, 168 countries and regions fully or partially closed their borders, with 90 countries and regions making no exception for people seeking asylum.

As a result, only 17,400 refugees were resettled in the first six months of 2020, half the figure of 2019.