More than 68 million people were internally displaced in 2023: UN expert

Paula Gaviria Betancur tells UN that 7.7 million more people internally displaced due to floods, storms, earthquakes, wildfires, and other disasters

Peter Kenny  | 21.06.2024 - Update : 22.06.2024
More than 68 million people were internally displaced in 2023: UN expert


At the end of 2023, 68.3 million people were internally displaced by conflicts and violence worldwide, an increase of 49% from five years ago, UN expert Paula Gaviria Betancur told the UN Human Rights Council on Friday.

Betancur, the UN Special Rapporteur on internally displaced persons' human rights, said that 7.7 million more people were displaced in their own countries at the end of 2023 because of floods, storms, earthquakes, wildfires, and other disasters.

"Every year, the number of internally displaced persons globally reaches a record high," she said at the 56th session of the human rights body.

"Over the past months, we have expressed our despair, outrage, and frustration over the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza, Sudan, Haiti, to mention but a few."

Betancur said that nearly 83% of Gaza's population is now displaced, and more than 70% of the area's homes have been destroyed since the conflict involving Israel that began there on Oct 7.

In Sudan, recent reports indicate that 9.9 million people are internally displaced.

Haiti's escalating violence and protection crisis have forced a record of around 600,000 internal displacements in 2024, more than double the figure from 2022, said the UN expert.

Meanwhile, in Myanmar, the vast majority of the 3 million internally displaced are still without proper shelter without access to food and water.

On a positive note, Betancur said that Mozambique made "remarkable progress" in responding to displacement driven by conflict and climate emergency.

These had resulted in over 1.2 million internally displaced persons and an additional 110.000 internally displaced persons following the early 2024 attacks by militants in the north of the country.

More than 600,000 people returned to their areas of origin in 2023, Betancur said.

She explained that 70% of Internally Displaced Persons are in fragile and or conflict-affected states that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Countries such as Bangladesh, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Grenada, India, Japan, Malawi, Myanmar, Namibia, Pakistan, the Philippines, the territory of American Samoa, Vanuatu, and Vietnam have disaster risk reduction policies and strategies that refer to planned relocation.

Betancur said that even with adopted planned relocation frameworks, consistent implementation, institutional capacity, and adequate funding are not always assured.

"States must have compelling reasons, strong evidence, and a sound legal basis for planned relocations, which should be a last resort after all other risk reduction and adaptation measures have been reasonably exhausted," said the UN expert.

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