Supplement No. 12
Displacement levels remained high during the reporting period, with UNHCR facing significant challenges in its efforts to protect and assist people of concern to the organization.
Nonetheless, there were also reasons for optimism, in particular when States and other stakeholders agreed on the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) as a new framework for predictable and equitable responsibility-sharing, the result of two years of extensive consultations led by UNHCR. The GCR was affirmed by the General Assembly in December 2018.1 2. By the end of 2018, some 70.8 million2 people had been forced from their homes as a result of persecution, conflict and violence; including 25.9 million refugees3 and 41.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).4 An estimated 13.6 million people were newly displaced, including 10.8 million within the borders of their own country. This meant that some 37,000 people were forced to flee their homes every day. Millions of people around the world continued to be at risk of statelessness, often encountering obstacles in accessing basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.
During the year, UNHCR and partners found themselves in a race against time to improve conditions for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, ahead of the monsoon season. More people were uprooted by recurrent conflict in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The security and human rights situation significantly deteriorated in Burkina Faso and Cameroon, leading to substantial displacement, in particular internally. Millions were exposed to hunger as the crisis in Yemen deepened. The conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic entered its ninth year, keeping millions of people in displacement. A massive outflow from Venezuela (the Bolivarian Republic of) affected the entire region, and complex movements of refugees and migrants presented further challenges in Central America, the Mediterranean and elsewhere. At the same time, there was increasing pressure on displaced people to return to unstable situations, families were separated, borders were closed, boats were turned away and lives continued to be lost at sea.
In many regions, divisive and politicized discourse about refugees and migrants contributed to growing protection risks. Nonetheless, and despite the significant social and economic challenges faced by major host countries, governments and communities continued to demonstrate solidarity and generosity, upholding the principles of international refugee protection. Around 84 per cent of refugees were hosted by countries in developing regions.
During 2018, around 2.9 million people returned to their areas or countries of origin, including some 2.3 million IDPs and 594,000 refugees. While an estimated 1.4 million refugees were in need of resettlement, only some 81,300 places were available.