Geneva – The United Nations High Commission for Refugees reported on Friday that the number of people living as refugees, mainly driven by the Syrian war and other protracted conflicts, breaks all records reaching 60 million at the end of the year. It is worth mention that these numbers are provisional and subject to change.
Conflicts in Afghanistan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, among others, have led to marked increases on several continents. The global refugee total has passed to 20 million for the first time since 1992. An estimated of 34 million people were internally displaced by mid-2015, about two million more than over the same time in 2014.
Refugee numbers counting from the second half of 2015 have been going up sharply: 839,000 people have been force to flee their homes in just six months, equivalent to an average rate of almost 4,600 forced to leave their countries every day. All these numbers mean that one out of every 122 people on Earth has been forced to escape their homes.
“Never has there been a greater need for tolerance, compassion and solidarity with people who have lost everything. Forced displacement is now profoundly affecting our times. It touches the lives of millions of our fellow human beings, both those forced to flee and those who provide them with shelter and protection.” António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees said.
At the moment Turkey is the world’s biggest host country with 1.84 million refugees. Lebanon hosts more refugees compared to population size than any other country with 209 refugees per every 1,000 Lebanese. Ethiopia pays the most in relation to its economy with 469 refugees for every dollar of gross in domestic production.
People arriving to Europe by boat via the Mediterranean are only partly reflected in the report, mainly because arrivals intensified in the second half of 2015. According to the report in the first six months, Germany was the world’s biggest recipient of new asylum claims, 159,000, close to the entire total for all 2014. The second largest recipient was Russia with 100,000 claims, mainly people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
Antonio Guterres, presided a two-day conference looking at the root causes of displacement and possible solutions. Guterres said ending the conflicts that force people to flee would resolve the problem, but that seems unlikely.
Guterres noted that the study revealed most of those seeking asylum in Europe were not coming directly from countries of conflict, they were coming from host countries, such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The reason is that humanitarian actors are no longer able to provide the minimum support needed to provide refugees with protection and lifesaving aid so refugees like Syrians were leaving these countries of asylum because their minimum needs were not being met and they saw no future.
Source: United Nations