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An interview with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi

An extended conversation with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grande.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (who recently contracted the virus himself) tells Ian Bremmer in this week's episode of GZERO World that the coronavirus has upended the lives of millions of refugees in countless ways. Countries that were already limiting their number of refugees closed up their borders entirely. And today, as nationalist sentiments and straight-up xenophobia become ever more prevalent, 80 million people, or one percent of the world's population, find themselves displaced.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

UNHCR chief: Why the world’s biggest nations have done so little to help refugees

The three largest economies in the word, the United States, China and Japan take a tiny fraction of the refugees compared to that of far poorer countries. Ian Bremmer asks UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi why that's the case and how to change it. "The backlog of asylum claims in the US is astronomical," Grandi tells Bremmer. "It's by far the biggest in the world" Their conversation was part of an episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

The refugee crisis that has displaced 80 million people worldwide

80 million people. That's one percent of the world's total population. It's also the number of displaced people in the world today and the highest number since World War II. And it's a crisis that's been raging long before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. How did we get here and what we can do about it? The UN's top advocate for refugees, High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, has some answers. In fact, his passion for helping the world's most vulnerable has come at a cost. He recently tested positive for COVID-19 himself.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

What makes the UN’s top refugee advocate, Filippo Grandi, the angriest?

"All over the industrialized world, the refugee issue has been manipulated for political reasons…it has become popular to say 'Let's get rid of them. Let's send them away. Let's not rescue them at sea.'" The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has faced an uphill battle in getting the leaders of the world to care about refugees for years. But, he says, the recent increase in the politicization of refugees as disease-carrying hoards truly makes his blood boil. Not only, he says, because it's morally wrong, but also because it's not an efficient way to handle the problem. His conversation with Ian Bremmer was part of a new episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

What gives the UN’s top refugee advocate hope?

"I think that there are still positive forces, there are still leaders in the world who think in the right way, but…it's very 50/50." The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has plenty to keep him up at night but when it comes to the fate of refugees in a post-pandemic world, it's not all doom and gloom. The refugee situation in Sudan and South Sudan, he tells Ian Bremmer, is one cause for hope. Their conversation was part of a new episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

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