UNHCR: Record 117 million people forcibly displaced worldwide

The UN refugee agency says the number of forcibly displaced people around the world reached a record high of nearly 120 million as of the end of 2023.

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Thursday published its report ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20.

The report includes the latest statistics on refugees and internally displaced people forced to flee due to reasons such as conflict, persecution and human rights violations.

The agency said an estimated 117.3 million people remained displaced at the end of 2023, which is an increase of 8.8 million from the end of 2022. It said the rise marked the 12th straight year-on-year increase.

In the Gaza Strip, the report says up to 1.7 million people, or 75 percent of the population, had been displaced since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began in October 2023.

As for Sudan, the report says, "As of May 2024, operational data indicates the number of new displacements since April 2023 has risen to more than 7.1 million within the country, with a further 1.9 million people hosted in neighboring countries." Conflict broke out between Sudan's military and a paramilitary group in April 2023.

The UN agency expressed strong concern at the record level of forced displacement, and called for more international effort and support for refugees.

The agency said the global displaced population is now almost equivalent to that of Japan, the world's 12th largest country in terms of population.