1 in 13 residents of Curaçao is a forced migrant without papers

NEW YORK - Curaçao faces a striking statistic: one in thirteen residents is a forced migrant without residency papers, totaling over 17,000 people. These alarming figures place Curaçao fourth on the list of countries with the highest proportion of refugees and others in need of international protection. Aruba tops the list, with even one in five residents being forced migrants. 

The UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, warns against apathy and passivity as the number of forcibly displaced persons worldwide reaches a record high. According to the UNHCR's 2023 Global Trends Report, as of May 2024, there are 120 million people fleeing, a number comparable to the population of Japan, the twelfth largest country in the world. 

Conflicts such as those in Sudan, Gaza, and Myanmar have recently led to a dramatic increase in the number of refugees and displaced persons. In Sudan alone, since April 2023, over 7.1 million new internally displaced persons have been registered, with another 1.9 million refugees seeking refuge in surrounding countries. Similarly, millions were displaced last year in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Myanmar due to violent clashes. 

In Gaza, ongoing violence has displaced up to 1.7 million people (75 percent of the population). Syria, however, remains the largest displacement crisis in the world, with 13.8 million people fleeing both within and outside the country. 

"Behind these shocking and rising figures lie countless human tragedies," says Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. "The international community must urgently address the root causes of forced displacement." Grandi calls for respect for the basic laws of war and international law and emphasizes the need for better cooperation to tackle conflicts, human rights violations, and the climate crisis. 

The number of internally displaced persons rose to 68.3 million, nearly 50 percent more than five years ago. The number of refugees and others in need of international protection increased to 43.4 million. Most refugees are hosted in neighboring countries, with 75 percent residing in low- and middle-income countries that produce less than 20 percent of the world's income. 

On a positive note, more than 5 million internally displaced persons and 1 million refugees worldwide returned home in 2023. The number of resettled people increased to nearly 160,000, showing some progress towards sustainable solutions. 

"Refugees and the communities hosting them need solidarity and a helping hand," adds Grandi. "There are solutions, but real commitment is needed."