We are witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. UNHCR’s new Global Trends report, released yesterday, confirmed the worrying trend of an increase in global displacement, now affecting 70.8 million people. Once again, roughly two thirds of those affected (41.3 million) are internally displaced, further complicating their protection situation. Every day, another 37,000 people are forced to flee their homes. On this World Refugee Day, ACT Alliance together with other FBOs issued a statement calling for a greater global solidarity with displaced people worldwide.
Despite an increase in displacement, available protection continues to decline – especially in the Global North, which is statistically least affected. Almost four out of five refugees in 2018 were living in neighbouring countries. According to the report, asylum applications have decreased significantly in many industrialised countries, including the US, Germany, and Italy, the latter seeing a dramatic decline of about 60%. Among those who did manage to apply for asylum, fewer were being granted a protection status. From 60% globally in 2016, the percentage of people receiving protection went down to 44% in 2018. Australia and Sweden are recognising barely a quarter of asylum applications. In addition, resettlement numbers are also going down, which puts enormous pressure on those developing countries that are hosting the largest portion of displaced people.
“In this situation, faith communities and civil society organizations are often forced to go beyond their role of just complementing the services of states in refugee protection due to the mounting obstacles faced by people on the move when trying to reach safe havens in developed countries,” said Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, General Secretary of ACT Alliance. “The deplorable humanitarian situation in the Mediterranean, where European member states are actively refusing search and rescue efforts by civil society, and in Central America, where the US is wielding political influence to categorically prevent the arrival of people in need on American soil, are emblematic of this trend,“ de Faria said.
Therefore, global solidarity and responsibility sharing need to be promoted among all actors, while recognising the legal and moral responsibility of states as duty bearers, especially those who have the means to receive and integrate refugees. “Additional and very important services should be provided by local communities, including faith actors, to ensure the successful social inclusion of newcomers. ACT Alliance and its members will continue to support these efforts,” concluded de Faria.
See the statement here