The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the latest global displacement figures, which highlight that the number of people in forced displacement has crossed the 100 million milestone for the first time on record. 

Andrew Pugh, IRC's Ukraine Director, said:

“News that over 100 million people have now been forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of ongoing conflicts and crises in countries like Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Yemen should act as a wake up call for world leaders everywhere. 

“The initial outpouring of support for people fleeing the violence in Ukraine has been remarkable, with civil society mobilising across the world to provide emergency support to those in need. It is vital that this support continues and the torch is carried by governments and leaders who are in a position to resource policies that can provide families with a sustainable, long-term welcome. 

“Refugees from Ukraine make up 6.4 million of today’s harrowing statistic, representing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to global displacement. Beyond the Ukraine response, governments across the world must not lose sight of humanitarian needs resulting from other conflicts and crises. People enduring crisis in countries like Afghanistan and Yemen must not be left behind, and humanitarian aid must also continue to other regions in need.

“With the majority of those who have fled Ukraine being women and children, people are at particular risk of exploitation and abuse as they cross borders without their documents and in need of assistance. Countries neighbouring Ukraine should continue to ensure swift access to work, education and long-term accommodation, while those elsewhere should share the responsibility by scaling up their relocation and resettlement pledges. 

“This moment must be a point of reflection for the international community, who must simultaneously step up protection and support for the millions more who are fleeing untold violence and persecution across the world.”

Niamh Nic Carthaigh, IRC's Director of EU Policy and Advocacy, added:

“While the crisis in Ukraine has propelled this alarming figure to record highs, we must not forget that the vast majority of people in displacement worldwide are from elsewhere - forced to leave their homes in Afghanistan, Syria, the Sahel and beyond by a deadly brew of conflict, climate change and COVID-19. 

"The EU’s efforts to protect and welcome people fleeing Ukraine to date have been remarkable. They demonstrate that Europe can welcome refugees in a spirit of solidarity and responsibility-sharing, when there is the will to do so. These past months must serve as a lasting reminder of what the EU and its states can accomplish when it acts in unity, and as a springboard towards future actions to protect and support all those who flee.

"The news that more than 1% of the global population is displaced poses Europe one of its greatest challenges, but also opportunities to demonstrate leadership and action. EU leaders must now stand by their commitments to expand safe and legal routes to protection, including refugee resettlement, so that people are not forced to risk their lives on dangerous routes, as well as advancing their work to bolster the wider asylum and reception system across Europe. We urge the EU to continue to work in solidarity - with refugees and states of first arrival in Europe - to progress its New Pact on Migration and Asylum and ensure that it has the protection and rights of people, not borders, at its heart.”