Statement by Ms. Rossana Dudziak, UN Resident Coordinator in North Macedonia
23 June 2021
There are twice as many forcibly displaced people than ten years ago. This is simply unacceptable!
Despite the pandemic, the number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution, and human rights violations in 2020 rose to a record-high 82.4 million people, according to UNHCR’s latest annual Global Trends report. This is a four percent increase on top of the already record-high 79.5 million at the end of 2019. In fact, 2020 is the ninth year of uninterrupted rise in forced displacement worldwide, and today, there are twice as many forcibly displaced people than ten years ago.
The situation is beyond alarming, but somehow, we fail to understand that refugees are not mere numbers. We must take these numbers into perspective. When we talk about refugees, we talk about people’s lives and destinies. People, families, they are not eager to flee their homes. They do it because there is no other choice.
To put this in perspective, girls and boys under the age of 18 account for 42 per cent of all forcibly displaced people. They are particularly vulnerable, especially when crises continue for years. New UNHCR estimates show that almost one million children were born as refugees between 2018 and 2020. Many of them may remain refugees for years to come. It is difficult to even start trying to understand what these children are facing!
This means that we, as a society, have two important responsibilities. The first one is the obligation to try to prevent persecution, human rights violations and war that force people and families to escape from the irreplaceable comfort of their homes.
The second is to make sure that refugees can make a positive contribution to the sustainable development, wherever they are. For this to happen, there must be increased understanding for the need of solidary, from one side, and systematic mechanisms that would allow for that to happen, from another.
On this World Refugee Day, I urge you all to think about solidarity and inclusiveness. Refugees are people who had jobs, have education, skills, and talents that can be of benefit to any society. We cannot talk about sustainable development if everyone is not included in its achievement and we must make sure, no one is left behind!