For the second consecutive year grew the number of internally displaced persons and refugees in the world, according to data from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In 2007, 11.4 million people abandoned their country for political reasons, a million and a half more than the previous year. The number of internally displaced persons reached 26 million, from 24.4 million in 2006. Colombia has the largest number of internally displaced persons around the world, with nearly 3 million people who are victims of the internal armed conflict, according to data from the Constitutional Court. In terms of number of people displaced outside their country, Colombia is third, with nearly 600 thousand people, behind Afghanistan, with three million, and Iraq, with two million. Of the 25 million refugees who live under the protection of UNHCR, more than 11 million are refugees and almost 14 million are internally displaced, living in 23 different countries. For the Commissioner, the increase in numbers of displaced persons in the world is due to the unstable situation in Iraq, with sectarian conflict and without a political solution. UNHCR noted that the world faces challenges that may generate more forced future displacements.
Conflicts in vulnerable regions due to mismanagement, environmental degradation that increases competition for scarce resources and excessive rising of prices of basic commodities, which afflict the poor and generate instability. According to the report, last year were 647 thousand individual requests for refuge to the Governments and to the own Commissioner. An increase of 5% compared to the year 2006 and the first growth in four years. The main destinations sought after by refugees are United States, South Africa, Sweden, France, United Kingdom, Canada and Greece. But the report noted not only negative aspects. Antonio Guterres, the High Commissioner of UNHCR highlighted progress that it was made last year in terms of people resettled and refugee in a third country. They were 99 thousand people settled last year – the largest number in 15 years. In addition to the resettlement, UNHCR works in voluntary repatriation to the country of origin and the integration in the countries of refuge. Almost 731 thousand voluntary – 374 thousand repatriations of Afghans, 130 thousand of Sudanese and 60 thousand Congolese were registered in 2007. And it is estimated that 2.1 million internally displaced persons returned to their places of origin last year. Drafting original author and source of the article.