Last year saw record number of displaced people -- greater than after Second World War
Almost 1% of the earth's population is displaced, according to a report released Monday
The U.N.’s refugee agency reports that the number of displaced people is at its highest ever – surpassing even post-World War II numbers, when the world was struggling to come to terms with the most devastating event in history.
The total at the end of 2015 reached 65.3 million – or one out of every 113 people on Earth, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The number represents a 5.8 million increase on the year before.
A little under 1% of the earth’s population is either “an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee” according to the UNHCR report, which was released Monday.
The report offers three main reasons for the increase in the rate of forced displacements:
Long-term situations, such as the conflict in Afghanistan that cause large refugee outflows, are lasting longer; “dramatic new or reignited situations” such as the conflicts in Syria and South Sudan are occurring with a greater frequency; and “the rate at which solutions are being found for refugees and internally displaced people has been on a falling trend since the end of the Cold War.”
The report was released on World Refugee Day, which is observed by the agency annually to commemorate “the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees.
This year, the UNHCR is urging people to sign a “#WithRefugees” petition, to be delivered to the U.N. headquarters in New York head of September’s General Assembly, asking governments to ensure every refugee child gets an education, that every refugee family has “somewhere safe to live,” and to ensure “every refugee can work or learn new skills to make a positive contribution to their community.”
Here are five takeaways from the report:
Global displaced population bigger than the UK’s
The global population of forcibly displaced people today is larger than the entire population of the United Kingdom.
If they were a country, the forcibly displaced would be the 21st largest in the world.
Over half of all refugees come from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia
A total of 54% of all refugees come from just three countries.
Syria has the highest number of externally displaced people, with 4.9 million fleeing outside the country’s borders. Afghanistan has 2.7 million and Somalia 1.1 million.
Almost 100,000 unaccompanied children
A staggering 98,400 asylum applications were filed to the UNHCR by unaccompanied or separated children – mainly Afghans, Eritreans, Syrians and Somalis.
200,000 refugees returned; 100,000 resettled
Just over 200,000 refugees returned home in 2015 – most to Afghanistan, Somalia and the Central African Republic. By contrast, 107,100 were resettled in other countries – with the U.S. taking in the highest number: 66,500.
Turkey is the top host of refugees
Turkey hosts 2.5 million externally displaced people. Followed by Pakistan (1.6 million), Lebanon (1.1 million), Iran (979,000) and Ethiopia (736,000). It is the second year in a row that Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees worldwide.