UNHCR Laments Growing Global Refugee, IDP Population

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has lamented the alarming rate at which the number of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) continue to grow daily on every Continent.

A dispatch from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says the UN Refugee Agency’s concern was contained in a special statement by the Agency’s High Commissioner, Antonio Guterres which was read by his Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Madam Angele Dikongue-Atangana during an event held to commemorate this year’s World Refugee Day in Nigeria.

The UNHCR Nigeria office, in collaboration with the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs (NCFRMI), formally commemorated the event in Abuja on Monday, June 22, 2015 at a well attended program in Abuja.

According to Guterres, “Their numbers are growing and accelerating, every single day, on every continent. In 2014, an average of 42,500 people became refugees, asylum-seekers or internally displaced persons, every single day – that is four times more than just 4 years ago. These people rely on us for their survival and hope. They will remember what we do”.

He noted that more people fled last year than at any other time in the records of the UN Refugee Agency. He further disclosed that almost 60 million people have been displaced by conflict and persecution with nearly 20 million of them being refugees, and children more than half.

For her part, Madam Dikongue-Atangana, who lamented about Nigeria’s over 1.5 million IDPs, disclosed that there were about 2,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in Nigeria. She however stated that although such number constituted a small proportion, given Nigeria’s 170 million population, the 1.5 million IDP’s are all potential refugees if the world took no collective action in seeking their welfares which could further push them into other countries to become refugees.

The Federal Commissioner of NCFRMI, Madam Hajiya Hadiza Sani Kangiwa, also speaking, said that the Nigerian Government was committed to protecting all refugees and IDPs. She said the Nigerian Government was doubling its efforts to cater to the needs of refugees and IDPs, particularly in the northeastern Nigeria, which had been hit by an insurgency.

Observed globally since 2001, World Refugee Day is commemorated on June 20 each year to raise awareness about the situation of refugees and displaced persons throughout the world. The United Nations General Assembly declared it in its Resolution 55/76 on 4th December, 2000.

This year's event was celebrated against the backdrop of multiple conflicts, growing numbers of forcibly displaced people and elevated intolerance and xenophobia in many parts of the world.

The global theme was “Refugees: Ordinary People Living Through Extraordinary Times. Showing Love And Restoring Hope To Displaced People”. The local topic was “One Family Torn Apart Is Too Many; One Refugee Without Hope Is Too Many”.

From: Nat Bayjay – Minister Counselor for Press & Public Affairs  Liberian Embassy Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria

Contact #s:  (+234) 808 939 0873, (+234) 818 179 9737, (+234) 813-074-8979

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