Media release

Ukraine, other conflicts push forcibly displaced total over 100 million for first time 

23.05.22 – Figure must ‘serve as a wake-up call’ for more action to promote peace and address all causes of forced displacement, says UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi 

More than 5 million people have now fled Ukraine and millions more have been displaced internally. In addition to those who have had to flee, an estimated 13 million people remain stranded in areas hardest hit by the war within Ukraine and are in need of urgent support 

The number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights violations and persecution has now crossed the staggering milestone of 100 million for the first time on record, propelled by the war in Ukraine and other deadly conflicts. 

“One hundred million is a stark figure — sobering and alarming in equal measure. It’s a record that should never have been set,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. “This must serve as a wake-up call to resolve and prevent destructive conflicts, end persecution, and address the underlying causes that force innocent people to flee their homes.”   

According to new data from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide rose towards 90 million by the end of 2021, propelled by new waves of violence or protracted conflict in countries including Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition, the war in Ukraine has displaced 8 million within the country this year, and more than 6 million refugee movements from Ukraine have been registered. 

At over 1% of the global population, the overall figure is equivalent to the 14th most populous country in the world. It includes refugees and asylum seekers as well as the 53.2 million people displaced inside their borders by conflict, according to a recent report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). 

“The international response to people fleeing war in Ukraine has been overwhelmingly positive,” he added. “Compassion is alive and we need a similar mobilization for all crises around the world. But ultimately, humanitarian aid is a palliative, not a cure. To reverse this trend, the only answer is peace and stability so that innocent people are not forced to gamble between acute danger at home or precarious flight and exile.” 

Emma Cherniavsky, Chief Executive of UK for UNHCR:  

“This milestone is a stark reminder that, every day, individuals and families all around the world are being forced to flee their homes because of war, violence and persecution.   

“One hundred million people should make us stop and think, and most importantly, act. After the second World War, when there were unprecedented numbers of lives uprooted by conflict, the international community responded by establishing the UN Refugee Agency and ratifying the Refugee Convention, in 1951.   

“The principles underpinning the Convention remain just as relevant today as when it was drafted, and we need to see that same level of global cooperation and ambition to support forcibly displaced people now – whoever and wherever they are.  

“The vast majority of displaced people, well over three-quarters, live in low and middle income countries. These hosting nations and communities need the continued support of the global community, and every section of society can play a part in this. 

“For example, in response to the war in Ukraine, we have witnessed incredible compassion and action from individuals, civil society, governments and the private sector. In fact, the private sector is playing an increasingly important role in supporting UNHCR’s work not just in Ukraine but also in response to other crises, such as the humanitarian needs in Afghanistan and the COVID-19 pandemic, expressing solidarity in the form of financial donations, gifts-in-kind, sharing expertise and myriad other ways.  

“However, as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has said, ‘Ultimately, humanitarian aid is a palliative, not a cure. To reverse this trend, the only answer is peace and stability.’” 

UNHCR will release its annual Global Trends Report on June 16, outlining a full set of global, regional and national data on forced displacement for 2021, as well as more limited updates to April 2022, and details on returns and solutions. 


For media interviews or further information please contact Sara Guy, [email protected]0208 183 0121. 

About UK for UNHCR 

UK for UNHCR is the UN Refugee Agency’s national charity partner for the UK, building solidarity, fostering partnerships and raising funds in the UK to help deliver global humanitarian relief for refugees through UNHCR’s work.  

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, leads international action to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. It delivers life-saving assistance like shelter, food and water, helps safeguard fundamental human rights, and develops solutions that ensure people have a safe place to call home where they can build a better future. UNHCR also works to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality. 

UK for UNHCR is a registered charity in England and Wales (registered charity number 1183415). 


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