Over 51 million people displaced by conflict and persecution in 2013

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A Malian refugee in the village of Gaoudel, near the town of Ayourou in Niger
© Jaspreet Kindra/IRIN

The number of people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution rose to more than 51 million at the end of 2013, according to the head of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Antonio Guterres briefed the UN General Assembly's Third Committee which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues on Tuesday.

"In 2011 every single day, some 14, 000 people worldwide were forced from their homes by war or violence. In 2012, 23,000 a day. In 2013, 32,000 a day.  Fourteen thousands, twenty-three thousand, thirty-two thousand, an exponential growth. At the end of 2013, over 51 million people were in displacement due to conflict and persecution." (28")

Mr. Guterres said that everything indicates that this number will be even higher by December this year.

He warned that this upward trend will likely continue in the future due to today's multiplying conflicts, as well as the pressures of climate change, population growth, urbanization, food insecurity and water scarcity.

The humanitarian community, he added, is scrambling to respond to the crises around the world but every new crisis shows that the system has reached its limits.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1'24"


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