Personal Immigration

Over 72 million forcibly displaced globally

Over 72 million people, more than one in every hundred of the world’s citizens, are now forcibly displaced, according to a new report released by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

According to the 2012 World Disasters Report, growing numbers of people are forced into migration by a range of what it calls “increasingly complex ‘drivers’” including conflict and violence, disasters, political upheaval and even by large-scale development projects. Of these, an estimated 20 million are living in a state of prolonged displacement.

The Report notes that the growing resistance of politicians and their citizens to supporting people who have been forced to flee their homes is perhaps the main impediment to providing better humanitarian and longer-term support to these highly vulnerable populations.

Bekele Geleta, Secretary General of the IFRC, says the Report provides “practical backing” for the Red Cross Red Crescent’s ongoing call for governments to ensure that migrants, irrespective of their legal status, have access to the support that they need and that they are treated at all times with respect and dignity.

“Last November, at our International Conference, 164 governments agreed to this principle and indeed they passed a resolution to this affect. That was an important step, but it was just a step,” said Geleta.

“Governments need to adopt new policies and strategies that recognise the rights of migrants and that help them become productive members of communities, and not social pariahs.”

The Report highlights a number of approaches and policies that governments could adopt to minimise the suffering of the world’s forced migrants, including more flexible forms of citizenship, ensuring that they have the support that they need to find work and are integrated into their new communities, more relaxed approaches to cross-border mobility and better protection against crime and violence.

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