UN: Millions of refugees in need of permanent homes

More than 2 million refugees will need to find a permanent new home next year, as they can neither remain where they are currently, nor return to their original homes, the United Nations’ refugee body said in Geneva on Tuesday.


UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo put the figure for this year at 1.47 million. “This rise is attributed to the humanitarian impacts of the pandemic, the multitude of various protracted refugee situations, and the emergence of new displacement situations over the past year,” she said.


Most of the refugees needing resettlement to permanent homes are currently in African countries or the Middle East. Syrians, followed by Afghans make up the largest groups in this category. Other countries highlighted in the report were the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Myanmar.


The people concerned are facing persecution or in need of special care that the countries they are currently living in cannot provide.


Prospects for this category of refugee are poor. According to the UNHCR, just 39,266 resettlement places were provided over the whole of last year, with the United States and Canada among the countries offering the most permanent places.


“UNHCR is appealing for predictable, multi-year resettlement commitments from states. It also asks that resettlement quotas maintain flexibility, so that places are allocated based on urgent and emergency needs across the world,” Mantoo said.

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