Afghanistan among top five refugee-origin countries with 6.4 million displaced: UNHCR

A report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reveals that 117.3 million people, or one in 69 individuals worldwide, remain forcibly displaced, including a significant number from Afghanistan.

The report underscores that the wars in Afghanistan during the 1980s doubled refugee numbers to 20 million by 1990.

The report says that the 2001 U.S. invasion further escalated the crisis, contributing to a global increase in displacement.

Forced displacement has continued to rise in the first four months of 2024 and is expected to surpass 120 million by the end of April. This alarming trend highlights the urgent need for international action to address the underlying causes of displacement.

Afghanistan is now one of the top five countries of origin for refugees, with 6.4 million Afghans forcibly displaced.

According to the report, 70 percent of refugees live in countries neighboring their countries of origin.

Iran and Pakistan, for instance, host nearly all Afghan refugees, with Iran accommodating 3.8 million and Pakistan 2 million Afghan refugees.

Germany also hosts a significant number of Afghan refugees despite not bordering Afghanistan. By the end of the year, Germany had 255,100 Afghan refugees, highlighting its role in providing international protection to those fleeing conflict.

The continuous rise in forced displacement, particularly among Afghan refugees, underscores the need for global solidarity and comprehensive solutions. Addressing the root causes of displacement and providing adequate support to host countries are crucial steps toward mitigating this humanitarian crisis.

According to the latest UNHCR Global Trends report for 2024, almost three-quarters (72 percent) of all refugees come from just five countries: Afghanistan (6.4 million), Syria (6.4 million), Venezuela (6.1 million), Ukraine (6 million), and Palestine (6 million).

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, called for urgent international efforts to address the root causes of forced displacement, emphasizing the immense suffering and human tragedies behind the staggering displacement numbers.

Of the 117.3 million forcibly displaced people, 68.3 million are internally displaced. In Gaza, ongoing conflict has displaced over 1.7 million people, accounting for 75 percent of its population. The UNHCR’s report underscores the critical need for global cooperation and support to address these displacement crises and their far-reaching impacts.