According to the UN Refugee Agency, fewer and fewer refugees around the world are able to return to their homes.&# 160;
KYIV – By the end of 2019, the planet had displaced an unprecedented number of people – 79.5 million people, or almost one percent of the total population. This is stated on June 18 in the Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Global Trends dedicated to World Refugee Day.
The report also notes a decline in prospects and hopes for refugees when it comes to improving their situation..
“In the 1990s, an average of one and a half million refugees could return home annually. Over the past decade, this number has dropped to about 385,000, which means that the growth of displacement today is far outstripping the solution to this problem, ”says a press release to the UNHCR Annual Report..
In a commentary on a 125-page report on the UNHCR website, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi talks about “changes” affecting displaced people around the world..
“We are seeing a change in that forced displacement is not only much more common these days, but it is also not a short-term and temporary phenomenon. […] We need a fundamentally new and more acceptable attitude towards all those fleeing in search of asylum, combined with a much more determined commitment to resolving conflicts that have lasted for years and which are at the root of such immense suffering, ”said Filippo Grandi.
The report notes that 45.7 million people are those who fled to other areas of their own countries..
“The rest are people displaced elsewhere, of which 4.2 million are awaiting the results of their asylum applications, while 29.6 million are refugees and others forcibly displaced outside their country,” says the Annual UNHCR report dedicated to World Refugee Day.
The United Nations (UN) website reports that every minute 24 people leave their homes because of war, persecution or fear for their lives.
Specialists distinguish several categories of forcibly displaced persons: refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, stateless persons and others..
The definition of the legal status of refugees is contained in two international treaties – the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. World Refugee Day is celebrated on June 20.
In Ukraine – 1.44 million displaced persons
The Annual Report also mentions the situation in the east of Ukraine, where the military conflict, lack of security for citizens and the suspension of social payments “continued to have a negative impact on the welfare” of the population. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees notes that about 2.5 million people in Ukraine need support or have found protection in neighboring countries.
As of April 13, 2020, the number of internally displaced persons from Donbass and Crimea is 1.44 million. This is reported in the Unified Information Database on Internally Displaced Persons of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine..
Politics, refugees, Donbass
Member of the group on political issues in the Minsk process, journalist Sergey Garmash believes that the problem of internally displaced persons and refugees has lost its urgency over the six years of the occupation of Donbass.
“It used to be very relevant, but now many have returned home, to the occupied territory, people had no choice but to go where they have at least a home. Therefore, today the situation with refugees is not so acute, although the prospect of an escalation of hostilities remains, “Sergei Garmash tells the correspondent of the Russian service of the Voice of America..
In political terms, according to him, the occupation administration in Donbass does not intend to implement the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements..
“The situation is difficult for those who have separated families – Ukraine opened the checkpoint, the so-called“ DPR ”was not opened. People are not allowed in even to bury loved ones or collect pensions. I think that this is a systematic policy of self-isolation of territories from Ukraine and the so-called nationalization since February 2017 – to make Donbass mentally more Russian, so that social and economic ties are formed towards Russia. And when the region returns under the jurisdiction of Ukraine, it will mentally and economically remain a Russian enclave, ”says Sergei Garmash.
He notes that the country’s budget for 2020 includes funds for the construction of housing for refugees, but in connection with the coronavirus, these funds have been frozen..
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Hope to return home
Expert on Political and Economic Issues from the Fund “Maidan Zakordonnykh Sprav” Yuri Smelyansky believes that six years after the annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbass, the state authorities of Ukraine do not know the exact number of Ukrainians who fled their homes in the zones of Russian occupation.
“Today no one can say how intensive the migration in one direction or the other is, there are statistics of crossing the checkpoint, but it does not show how many people remained, and how many returned back,” Yury Smelyansky tells the correspondent of the Russian service of the Voice of America.
He calls the attitude of the state authorities to the problem of internally displaced persons, refugees from Crimea “creating a policy of false reality” and explains why.
“My impression is that the less a person turns to the authorities for help, the more comfortable the state feels. I do not see any initiatives for those who left the occupied territories. The policy of the authorities, speaking about the occupied Crimea, does not provide for the creation of strategic documents, international platforms for negotiations on Crimea, annual plans for activities on the Crimean problem, “Yuriy Smelyansky emphasizes..
The economist notes that his acquaintances, who were forced to leave Crimea, do not give up hope of returning home someday..
“We are waiting for the moment when we will be able to return home, to our homeland, and in this matter the state authorities should pay more attention to the return of the occupied territories. But I do not see effective mechanisms for how the official Kiev can do this, ”Yuriy Smelyanskiy notes..