More than 2 million people fleeing wars or persecution have been added to the ranks of the world’s refugees in 2017, according to a report presented to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
The largest increases come from South Sudan (650,000), and Muslim Rohingya (500,000) forced to flee ethnic cleansing in Myanmar over the past five weeks.
“[Refugees] often arrive sick, traumatised and hungry, in remote border locations, in communities affected by poverty and underdevelopment”, high commissioner Filippo Grandi said. “Many have urgent protection needs – children separated from their families, men, women, girls and boys exposed to sexual and gender-based violence.”
This latest increase comes after the UNHCR estimated in June that the number of people displaced globally – almost 66 million – is now the highest in human history.
Yet political establishments around the world continue to close the doors. The number of resettlement places has dropped by more than 40 percent in the last year. In September, the US government proposed limiting its refugee intake to 45,000 in 2018, the lowest cap in the United States for decades.
As the crisis has deepened and the security of refugees has deteriorated, politicians from Australia to Europe have become more brazen in their refugee bashing and fear mongering, as they militarise borders and clamp down on civil liberties.