There are an unprecedented number of refugees in the world today. More than a million refugees and migrants crossed into Europe in 2015, but this is a small percentage of the people who have had to leave their homes. In June 2015 the UN Refugee Agency said that ‘one in every 122 human beings is now either a refugee, internally displaced [in their own country], or seeking asylum’, a total of 65.3 million forcibly displaced people.
21.3 million refugees
10 million stateless people
3.2 million people who were seeking asylum
98,400 unaccompanied or separated children
More than half (54%) of all the refugees came from three countries: Syria, 4.9 million; Afghanistan, 2.7 million; and Somalia, 1.1 million.
In each minute in 2015, an average, 24 people were forced to flee from their homes, four times as many as a decade earlier. This is because conflicts, such as those in Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria are lasting longer and new conflicts have broken out, for example, in South Sudan, Yemen, Burundi, Ukraine and Central African Republic.
Most refugees live in countries close their country of origin, often the poorest countries in the world. The top countries hosting refugees were Turkey, 2.5 million; Pakistan, 1.6 million; Lebanon, 1.1 million; Iran, 979,400; Ethiopia, 736,100 and Jordan, 664,100. Lebanon hosted the largest number of refugees per head of the local population: 183 for every 1,000 inhabitants.
Read more in the UN Refugee Agency’s report, Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2015
As many more people are on the move, mixed groups of migrants and refugees making perilous journeys across, deserts, mountains, seas and dangerous border areas. The International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project charts the estimated number of refugees and migrants who die in transit throughout the world. There were 5,673 dead or missing in 2015.
The decade we are living through has seen forced displacement and human suffering on an increasingly terrifying scale. Outgoing UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, expressed his grave concern:
We are witnessing … an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as the response required is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before …
For an age of unprecedented mass displacement, we need an unprecedented humanitarian response and a renewed global commitment to tolerance and protection for people fleeing conflict and persecution. Read more