NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 2 – “The number of people forcibly displaced worldwide is now approaching 66 million, up from 42 million in 2009,” he said. “This includes 17.2 million refugees under UNHCR’s responsibility, a 70 per cent increase since then,” UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi told the Security Council in the first briefing in eight years of a Refugees High Commissioner. “Have we become unable to broker peace?” Grandi asked the Council during his key address on record levels of displacement. “Securing solutions for the millions of people uprooted around the world, and avoiding a repeat of the massive outflows that have taken place over recent years, ultimately rests on political solutions.”
Speaking in New York during the first public meeting of the rotating Italian presidency, Grandi mentioned several ongoing crises, including the “cataclysmic conflict” in Syria and the violence in Iraq, which together accounted for a quarter of all those forcibly displaced. But new crises had developed, he said, with many unfolding “in ungoverned spaces, driven by varying combinations of poverty and underdevelopment, environmental degradation, inequality and persecution.” He outlined several action points for members of the Security Council, including support of preventative measures “to address the causes of conflict and avoid deepening displacement crises”.
The international community needs to build on its work fighting people trafficking and the “horrific abuses perpetrated by traffickers”, the UNHCR head declared, calling for resolute action “to tackle the horrific abuses perpetrated by traffickers and identify and prosecute them.”
Without the restoration of peace and security, however, Grandi said it would be impossible for refugees and other displaced persons to return home. Security and the establishment of human rights and the rule of law will be essential to the return of Rohingya refugees to Rakhine State in Myanmar. “Progress on citizenship for the stateless Rohingya is absolutely crucial” along with a serious development program for one of the poorest areas of former Burma.
The statement of the UNHCR chief is here (@OnuItalia)