UNHCR and the Refugee Situation

Understanding Migration: an overview

A Day in the Life of a Peacekeeper by @RonRisdonAuthor #Peacekeeper

I recently did a talk and PowerPoint presentation entitled “United Nations and the Refugee Situation”, an introduction to the worldwide refugee status and the involvement of the UNHCR (“the migration people”).  My presentation did not concentrate on the situation in the Americas (mostly asylum seekers), which is rather unique from the rest of the world and will be discussed in future blog entries.  Here are some of the key points from that presentation.

Some necessary definitions as used by UNHCR: 

Refugee:  a person who has fled their country of origin and crossed an international border in response to one or more of five grounds:

  • race
  • religion
  • nationality
  • political opinion
  • membership in a social group
  • note that climate change, natural disaster and extreme poverty are not included as a cause yet are rapidly becoming a major cause of refugees, and may become the predominate cause in the future
  • there are currently 25.9 million refugees worldwide

IDP (Internally Displaced Person): they meet the same criteria as a refugee but person has not crossed an international border. They are refugees within their own country.

  • there are currently 41.3 million IDP’s worldwide

Asylum Seeker:  Person who applies for refugee protected status on an individual basis.

  • There are currently 3.5 million asylum seekers worldwide including most of the refugees in the Americas

In total there are 70.7 million “refugees” who fall under UNHCR mandate, that is to say whom they have a mandate to look after and support.

Who are the Refugees and where do they come from?

Village Residents Flee Fighting

  • Children make up 51% of all refugees, women and children combined are 80% of all refugees
  • 44,000 people are forced to flee their homes every day
  • 2/3 of all refugees falling under UNHCR mandate come from 5 countries
    • Syria 6.5 million
    • Afghanistan 2.7 million
    • South Sudan 2.2 million
    • Burma 1.2 million
    • Somalia 1.0 million

Where are these millions of refugees going?  The Bottom Line:

Listed in order from highest to lowest, these countries host more refugees than the rest of the world combined.  Is your country among them?

Jordan                                             2.7 million

Turkey                                             2.5 million

Pakistan                                          1.6 million

Lebanon                                          1.5 million

Iran                                                  0.98 million

Uganda                                            0.74 million

Kenya                                              0.55 million

DRC (Congo)                                0.48 million

Chad                                                   0.37 million

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