Over the past two years, the number of people who were forced to leave their homelands because of military conflicts and persecution has risen greatly. A whole range of factors, including climate change and scarcity of resources, may lead to even more sad statistics, the UN Refugee Agency reported. The report was published on the eve of World Refugee Day celebrated on 20 June. According to surveys, in 2007 the UN Refugee Agency helped more than 11 million people worldwide, twice as many than in previous years.
Vera Soboleva, a spokesman for the UNHCR office in Russia, commented in an interview with Voice of Russia, “These figures can be explained by the increasing number of conflicts in all regions of the world. About three million Afghanis still live outside their homeland, mainly in Iran and Pakistan. At least 2 million Iraqis fled to Syria and Jordan and cannot yet return home”. According to the Washington-based Committee for Refugees and Migrants, in 2007, the influx of refugees from Iraq caused very serious emergencies. The authors of the report criticised the US and British leadership, which were busying themselves solely with military operations with no concern for the life of ordinary Iraqis. Also, in 2007, 26 million people were forced to flee to their homes, the Agency reports.
The new data published by the Agency show that the problems of refugees have often been neglected. It was also a mistake to think that the destinations of the refugees were known and that most of the refugees fled to Europe. Now, we see that 80 percent of them fled to countries close to their homelands. In 2007, Pakistan welcomed more than 2 million exiles, and Syria received 1.5 million refugees, while the US gave shelter only to 281,000. The UN Refugee Agency warns that the world is becoming less hospitable…
20 June 2008
Voice of Russia World Service