The latest UNHCR Global Trends Report is always a sobering read. As always the statistics are overwhelming and I’m sure, like me, you ask yourself what can I do? The number one most important thing we can all do – is to stay informed. In this ‘post truth world’ with ‘alternative facts’ circulating, I think this is even more crucial.
The Global Trends Report is published every year to analyse the changes in UNHCR’s populations of concern and deepen public understanding of ongoing crises. UNHCR counts and tracks the numbers of refugees, internally displaced people, people who have returned to their countries or areas of origin, asylum-seekers, stateless people and other populations of concern to UNHCR.
In the time it has taken for you to log onto this blog and read the first two paragraphs, 20 people have been forced to flee their homes somewhere around the world. I think about this whenever I get stressed about the daily issues in my comfortable life in Australia: a flat tyre, a flooded bathroom, a flight delay, a traffic jam or not being able to get tickets to the football are really first-world problems aren’t they?
Over the past two decades, the global population of forcibly displaced people has grown substantially from 33.9 million in 1997 to 65.6 million in 2016 (up 300,000 from the previous year). The growth was concentrated between 2012 and 2015, driven mainly by the Syrian conflict. Other contributing factors were conflicts in Iraq and Yemen, as well as in sub-Saharan Africa including Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Sudan.
More than half (55%) of all refugees worldwide came from just three countries – Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan.
And for the third successive year Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees worldwide – 2.9 million people. Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Uganda and Ethiopia followed so developing regions continue to disproportionately host the world’s refugees.
“…the protection of refugees is not only the responsibility of neighbouring states of a crisis; it is a collective responsibility of the international community.” Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General.
The report shows the trends at a glance over two introductory pages so even if you don’t read the whole report, I urge you to have a look at those and stay informed.