New UNHCR report says global forced displacement at 18-year high

UNHCR released its annual Global Trends report, covering displacement that occurred during 2012.

From the press release:

“More people are refugees or internally displaced than at any time since 1994, with the crisis in Syria having emerged as a major new factor in global displacement.

UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, released on Wednesday, covers displacement that occurred during 2012 based on data from governments, NGO partners, and the UN refugee agency itself. The report shows that as of the end of 2012, more than 45.2 million people were in situations of displacement compared to 42.5 million at the end of 2011.

This includes 15.4 million refugees, 937,000 asylum seekers, and 28.8 million people forced to flee within the borders of their own countries. The report does not include the rise in those forced from their homes in Syria during the current year.

War remains the dominant cause. A full 55 percent of all refugees listed in UNHCR’s report come from just five war-affected countries: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan. The report also charts major new displacement from Mali, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and from Sudan into South Sudan and Ethiopia. [...]

Also evident is a continuing gap between richer and poorer countries in hosting refugees. Of 10.5 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate — a further 4.9 million Palestinian refugees fall under the mandate of its sister-agency, the UN Relief and Works Agency), half are hosted by countries that have a per capita GDP of less than US$5,000. In all, developing countries host 81 percent of the world’s refugees compared to 70 percent a decade ago.

Children below age 18 make up 46 percent of all refugees. In addition, a record 21,300 asylum applications submitted during 2012 were from children who were unaccompanied or separated from their parents. This is the highest number of unaccompanied or separated children that UNHCR has recorded. [...]

Afghanistan remained the world’s top producer of refugees, a position it has held for 32 years. On average, one out of every four refugees worldwide is Afghan, with 95 percent located in Pakistan or Iran. Somalia, another protracted conflict, was the world’s second largest refugee-producing nation during 2012, however there the rate of refugee outflow slowed. Iraqis were the third largest refugee group (746,700 persons), followed by Syrians (471,400).” (UNHCR press release, 19 June 2013)

The report can be accessed at the following link:

UNHCR: Global Trends 2012. Displacement. The New 21st Century Challenge, 19 June 2013

Update 20 June 2013:

For numbers on asylum decisions in the European Union in 2012, see the following two EUROSTAT publications:

EUROSTAT: Asylum decisions in the EU 27 [96/2013], 18 June 2013

EUROSTAT: Asylum applicants and first instance decisions on
asylum applications: 2012 [Data in focus 5/2013], 3 May 2013

“The EU27 Member States granted protection to 102 700 asylum seekers in 2012, compared with 84 300 in 2011. [...] In 2012, 407 300 decisions on asylum applications were made in the EU27, of which 274 500 were first instance decisions and 132 800 final decisions on appeal. [...]

Syrians became in 2012 the single largest group of persons granted protection status in the EU27. Of the 18 700 Syrians granted protection status in the EU27, more than 70% were recorded in two Member States: Germany (8 400) and Sweden (5 000). Of the 13 500 Afghans granted protection, 3 200 were registered in Germany, 2 800 in Sweden, 1 900 in Austria and 1 500 in Belgium, and of the 8 100 Somalis, 2 100 were in Sweden and 1 100 each in Malta and the Netherlands.” (EUROSTAT, 18 June 2013)

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