According to this year’s UNHCR Global Trends report, 59.5 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes by wars, conflict and persecution.
That’s the highest number is recorded history, even higher than the number forced to flee by the Second World War. One in every 122 people worldwide is now a refugee, asylum seeker or displaced person.
Despite this, the UK government still won’t commit to accepting any more refugees from the world’s most dangerous conflicts. As they continue to delay, here are ten more statistics from today’s report that show why the UK should – and must – do more to protect refugees.
- More than half of the world’s refugees (51%) are children. There were also more unaccompanied children and young people seeking asylum than ever before – 34,000 worldwide, nearly 10,000 more than in 2013.
- The number of refugees or displaced people worldwide increased by 8.3 million. Despite this, asylum applications to the UK remained relatively low (around 25,000) and the UK accepted just 787 refugees for resettlement.
- In 2014, an average of 42,500 people were forced to flee their homes every day. That means someone somewhere became a refugee or was displaced every two seconds. At that rate, it would take just half an hour for more people to become refugees than the UK resettled in all of 2014 (787).
- For the first time ever, Turkey sheltered more refugees than any other country in the world (1.59 million). Just four countries (Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon and the Islamic Republic of Iran) hosted 36% of the world’s refugees.
- The UK doesn’t feature among the ten countries that host the most refugees. We’re also not in the top ten for sheltering the most refugees compared to our population size, or for the most refugees compared to the size of our economy. Despite this, our government is still refusing to accept any additional refugees from countries like Syria – even with thousands of desperate people risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean.
- The number of displaced people and refugees worldwide (59.5 million) is almost equal to the population of the UK (64.1 million). Despite this, just a tiny 0.23% of the UK population actually is a refugee.
- In 2014, Syria became the largest source country of refugees worldwide. Before 2012, Syria wasn’t even among the top thirty largest source countries of refugees. Today one in every four refugees is from Syria – but to date, just 187 Syrians have been offered resettlement by the UK.
- More than three times as many refugees attempted to flee across the Mediterranean last year than the previous recorded yearly high. 219,000 survived the crossing, but at least 3,500 did not.
- If the world’s refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people were able to form their own country, it would be the 24th largest in the world.
- 86% of the world’s refugees were hosted by developing countries. In fact, the world’s least developed nations shelter one quarter of its refugees. If the world’s poorest are playing their part in shelter refugees, surely we can too?