Today is World Refugee Day.
“On average 24 people were forced to flee each minute in 2015, four times more than a decade earlier, when six people fled every 60 seconds.”
Combining data from its own field staff as well as governments and partner agencies, the detailed study estimates that there were 65.3 million people displaced at the end of 2015 (compared to 2014’s figure of 59.5 million). That’s approximately the population of France … or Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined.
- 3.2 million people were seeking asylum
- 21.3 million refugees
- 51% of refugees were children
- 98,400 refugees were unaccompanied children
- Measured against the world’s population of 7.4 billion people, one in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee.
- The greatest number of internally displaced people are in Columbia, Syria and Iraq.
- The greatest number of refugees have fled from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.
The BBC’s news report explains that “despite the huge focus on Europe’s migrant crisis, the UN said 86% of the world’s refugees were being sheltered in low and middle income countries”.
Forced displacement has doubled in less than twenty years. It’s the first time that the 60 million threshold has been breached in the UNHCR’s history. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said:
“More people are being displaced by war and persecution and that’s worrying in itself, but the factors that endanger refugees are multiplying too. At sea, a frightening number of refugees and migrants are dying each year; on land, people fleeing war are finding their way blocked by closed borders. Closing borders does not solve the problem.”