"New global displacement figures show the need for more international solidarity"

Comments from Charlotte Slente, Secretary General, the Danish Refugee Council, on new global displacement figures from UNHCR, showing 82.4 million displaced persons globally:

"Despite a year that has been strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of refugees and displaced persons has continued to rise and is now at to 82.4 million. At the same time, we see that those who have the least are hit the hardest by a pandemic. For refugees and displaced persons, it has been harder to access the labor market and the health systems since many of the countries that host them are poor and often dealing with their own challenges. And while the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated existing challenges, global support has unfortunately not increased accordingly.

2020 is the ninth year in a row that we see a rise in forced displacement worldwide. Now, 82.4 million persons are displaced globally. The new figures underline the need for global solidarity, but it is still the poorest countries that take by far the greatest responsibility for the world's refugees and displaced persons. Around 73% of all the world's refugees stay in neighboring countries to the conflicts, they have sought protection from, and 86% are hosted by developing countries. These are countries that often have their own issues to deal with. We cannot expect countries such as Lebanon, Uganda, and Bangladesh - who host millions of refugees - to continue to take on this task if they see that rich countries, such as Denmark, increasingly outsourcing the responsibility for joint and sustainable solutions for the displaced persons in the world.

The past year has reaffirmed that global challenges require global solutions, global responsibility, and global solidarity. And not least that it is possible to handle global issues if the world works together. There is a need for international solidarity instead of national unilateralism, and there is a need for a fairer distribution of responsibility for and protection of the 82.4 million men, women and children who have been forced to leave their home, due to wars, conflicts, persecution, and human rights violations.

Refugees and displaced persons have the right to a dignified life, and this requires that they have access to, for example, health systems and education, and that they can work to support themselves and their families. By ensuring such opportunities, we can help refugees become active contributors to the societies they become part of. However, as many refugees and displaced persons live in poorer countries around the world, it is crucial that these countries receive more support. It goes beyond humanitarian and development assistance, and includes solidarity, not least by increasing the number of resettlement places. Only by working together globally, we can ensure better and more sustainable solutions for the world's 82.4 million refugees and displaced persons.”

Charlotte Slente, Secretary General, Danish Refugee Council

  • The newly released global displacement figures, including the 82.4 million people displaced, can be found on UNHCR’s website.