The United Nations said on Monday that more than 100 million people across the globe have been forcibly displaced. These are the people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights violations, and persecution.
Internal displacement is likewise caused by conflict and natural disasters.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has significantly increased the number, with some 8 million displaced within the country and some 6 million crossing borders into nearby countries. Even before the February 24 invasion, the numbers were already high, caused by the violence in Ethipia,
Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to the Agence France Presse.
The UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, says this must “shake the world into ending conflicts.”
“It’s a record that should never have been set,” said UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi.
To put the numbers in greater perspective, the 100 million count represents more than one percent of the global population. Only 13 countries have a bigger population than 100 million.
Indeed the figure is disheartening, especially since the world is simultaneously confronting the lingering pandemic and the irreversible consequences of climate change.
Nations naturally look out for their own interests, and people, especially those who could afford to immerse themselves in the good life, would have no reason to believe this milestone is at all alarming. Each government has its own struggles and these countries appear too remote from the rest of us.
But in the grander scheme, no borders apply to common experiences of humanity.
These are people who, by pure accident of birth were born into troubled societies, and would have done as well, or even better, had they been born in another land.
Much remains wrong in the world and we should never for a second be lulled into indifference or complacency just because we find ourselves in better circumstances—again, not because of our own doing.