"80 million people displaced is a damning verdict on current global leadership"

Published 18. Jun 2020
Reactive statement by Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council on newly released global displacement figures.

“It is a damning verdict of unaccountable, impotent and nationalistic leadership around the world. International and regional powers have been bystanders and even accomplices, as armed men have driven 79.5 million defenceless people out of their homes with impunity.

During the 1990s genocides, we considered the 40 million people fleeing conflict and persecution the sign of a world falling apart. Today that number has doubled - one in every 100 people worldwide has been forced to flee.

These cruel statistics demand an end to the political inertia that exists in and around the world´s many protracted wars. Covid-19 and conflict are a lethal cocktail. Only real global cooperation will flatten the curve on these out-of-control displacement numbers, and end the suffering and the fertile ground for the pandemic.

At a time when thousands of citizens are taking to the streets to protest inequality, discrimination and injustice, we must also stand up give voice to the displaced and those fleeing violent racism and ethnic discrimination, in conflicts with little media attention.

Syria, DR Congo and Colombia host over 20 million people between them, while Europe drags its heels to accept 20,000 asylum seekers lying in limbo on a Greek Island, and the US closes its doors to single mothers fleeing horrific violence in Central America. We cannot continue to accept rich nations building walls, while poorer and middle-income nations host the vast majority of the world’s displaced people.”

For more information or to set up an interview, contact:
  • NRC media hotline in Oslo at media@nrc.no or by phone +47 905 62 329.
  • The newly released global displacement figures, including the 79.5 million people displaced, can be found on UNHCR’s website.