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UN Demands World Protect Immigrants Amidst the Worst Humanitarian Crisis Since WWII

2016 Showed the Worst Humanitarian Numbers for immigrants

The United Nations has called for a global protection of immigrants as 2016 showed a staggering number of people forcibly displayed; even worse than the numbers recorded during World War II. According to the United Nations refugee agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the year 2016 reached a record number in global population displaced (refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced people), which reflects a worsening situation of conflict and persecution around the world. The data, published in the agency’s annual Global Trends report, said that:

“The new total of 65.6 million people displaced from their homes is 300,000 higher than the 2015 number, which had been the highest since World War II.”

These numbers, as explained by Al-Jazeera, include 22.5 million refugees (half of which are children), 40.3 million internally displaced people and 2.8 million asylum seekers. More bluntly explained by the UNHCR

“This equates to one person becoming displaced every three seconds – less than the time it takes to read this sentence.”

As governments in Europe and the United States increasingly become hesitant and reluctant to accept refugees and asylum seekers in their countries, and as xenophobia, racism and bigotry take over politics, the UN has called for all countries to open their doors to immigrants.

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As Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees said:

“By any measure this is an unacceptable number, and it speaks louder than ever to the need for solidarity and common purpose in preventing and resolving crises, and ensuring together that the world’s refugees, internally displaced and asylum seekers are properly protected and cared for while solutions are pursued.”

Most of the people who have fled their countries have done so in Syria; however, the failure of the peace efforts in South Sudan has also resulted in large numbers of forcibly displaced people, and one of the worst contemporary humanitarian crises. Yet numbers also include displaced people from Colombia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. And in spite of the United States, together with other European governments, spreading anti-immigrant sentiment and mistrust, the UN has once again affirmed that majority of refugees go to low or middle-income countries, with many others fleeing to poor countries as long as they can find some safety.

“The report showed despite huge focus on Europe’s refugee crisis, it is the poorer countries that host most of the world’s refugees. For the third consecutive year, Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees worldwide, with 2.9 million people. It was followed by Pakistan (1.4 million), Lebanon (1 million), Iran (979,400), Uganda (940,800), and Ethiopia (791,600).”

Mr. Grandi also said, according to BBC, that these numbers reflect the incapacity of the world to make peace and of wars never ending. Nonetheless, these numbers also represent the failure of society as an international community to respond to the plight of our own neighbors and to one of the worst humanitarian crisis ever.

Featured image via Dan Kitwood/Getty Images News

From Mexico City, Carolina has lived in five different countries, experiences she defines as the most enriching. She has focused her studies and work on international conflicts and international security issues, diplomacy and protocol. Carolina holds two MA degrees and hopes to begin her PhD studies soon.