UN commissioner warns over escalating global refugee crisis

World
Fri, 31 May 2024 8:52 GMT
'The number of those who have been forced to flee their homes by war, violence and persecution reached 114 million at our latest count,' says Filippo Grandi.
UN commissioner warns over escalating global refugee crisis

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi sounded the alarm Thursday over the escalating refugee crisis worldwide, emphasizing the urgent need for political solutions and compliance with international humanitarian law.

"The number of those who have been forced to flee their homes by war, violence and persecution reached 114 million at our latest count. Next month, we will update this figure. It will be higher. The political solutions needed to solve displacement obviously continue to be absent," Grandi told a UN Security Council session.

Citing his briefing to the Council back in October, he said the situation with the refugee crisis has not changed since then, noting "if at all, it has grown worse."

Addressing the issue of non-compliance with international humanitarian law, Grandi condemned parties to conflicts for disregarding basic rules of war, resulting in civilian casualties, sexual violence and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. He particularly emphasized the dire situation in Gaza, calling for an immediate cease-fire, the release of hostages and the full resumption of humanitarian aid.

"The atrocious events in (the southern Gaza city of) Rafah made us witness once more hundreds of thousands of people trying to avoid lethal attacks," he said.

Emphasizing the obligation to protect civilians in conflict zones, Grandi said: "Among the many images from this conflict that will haunt us for a long time is that of desperate people trapped and often killed inside a war zone. Their safety should be our — your — paramount concern."

"The war in Gaza is also a tragic reminder of what happens when conflicts (and by extension a refugee crisis) are left unattended," he added.

Commenting on the Syrian refugee crisis, Grandi stressed the need for political action to address the plight of 5.6 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, particularly highlighting Lebanon's challenges.

He called for overcoming political constraints and working with all stakeholders to find solutions.

Saying that "it is too late for the tens of thousands already killed in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, the DRC, Myanmar and so many other places," Grandi concluded his address with a plea for the Security Council to prioritize action on unresolved conflicts and crises.

"It is not too late to put your focus and energy on the crises and conflicts that remain unresolved, so that they are not allowed to fester and explode again. It is not too late to step up help for the millions who have been forcibly displaced to return home voluntarily, in safety and with dignity. It is not too late to try and save countless millions more from the scourge of war," he noted.

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