UNHCR reports new record level of 68.5 million displaced

UNHCR released its annual Global Trends report, covering displacement that occurred during 2017. The report says the number of people forcibly displaced was 68.5 million at the end of 2017, leaving the population of forcibly displaced at another record high.

Of these 68.5 million forcibly displaced,

  • 25.4 million were refugees
  • 40 million were internally displaced
  • 3.1 million were asylum seekers

85% of the world’s refugees under UNHCR’s mandate were hosted by developing nations.

52% of the refugee population were children.

During the year, 16.2 million people were newly displaced.

Lebanon continued to host the largest number of refugees relative to its national population, where 1 in 6 people was a refugee under the responsibility of UNHCR. Jordan (1 in 14) and Turkey (1 in 23) ranked second and third, respectively. [...]

Altogether, more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of all refugees worldwide came from just five countries:

  • Syrian Arab Republic (6.3 million)
  • Afghanistan (2.6 million)
  • South Sudan (2.4 million)
  • Myanmar (1.2 million)
  • Somalia (986,400)

[...] By the end of 2017, about 3.1 million people were awaiting a decision on their application for asylum, about half in developing regions. [...] Asylum-seekers submitted 1.7 million new asylum claims. With 331,700 such claims, the United States of America was the world’s largest recipient of new individual applications, followed by Germany (198,300), Italy (126,500), and Turkey (126,100). [...]

The conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) and significant displacements in Burundi, Central African Republic, the DRC, Iraq, Myanmar, South Sudan, Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen have driven an increase to the levels observed today.

The report can be accessed at the following link:

UNHCR: Global Trends. Forced Displacement in 2017, 19 June 2018

For numbers on asylum decisions in the European Union in 2017, see the following two EUROSTAT publications, as well as EASO's Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the EU:

EASO: Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union 2017, 18 June 2018

The number of first time asylum applicants in the EU-28 in 2017 was 650 thousand, which was 55 thousand (about 8 %) less than the total number of applicants. A first-time applicant for international protection is a person who lodged an application for asylum for the first time in a given EU Member State and therefore excludes repeat applicants (in that Member State) and so more accurately reflects the number of newly arrived persons applying for international protection in the reporting Member State.

This latest figure for 2017 marked a decrease of 560 thousand first-time applicants across the EU-28 in comparison with the year before, as the number of first-time applicants fell from 1.2 million in 2016 to 650 thousand in 2017. This followed on from a slight decrease of 50 thousand first-time applicants between 2015 and 2016. The main contributions to the decrease were lower numbers of applicants from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq,

EUROSTAT: Asylum statistics: Asylum applications (non-EU) in the EU-28 Member States, 2006–2017, no date (accessed 20 June 2018)

The 28 Member States of the European Union (EU) granted protection status to 538 000 asylum seekers in 2017, down by almost 25% from 2016. [...]

The largest group of beneficiaries of protection status in the EU in 2017 remained citizens of Syria (175 800 persons, or 33% of the total number of persons granted protection status in the EU Member States), followed by citizens of Afghanistan (100 700 or 19%) and those of Iraq (64 300 or 12%).

The number of decisions granting protection status to Syrian citizens has dropped since 2016 (when they accounted for a share of 57% of all grants) however, they remained the largest group granted protection status in eighteen Member States in 2017. Of the 175 800 Syrian citizens granted protection status in the EU, more than 70% received protection status in Germany (124 800). [...]

In 2017, the highest number of persons granted protection status was registered in Germany (325 400), ahead of France (40 600), Italy (35 100), Austria (34 000) and Sweden (31 200).

EUROSTAT: Asylum decisions in the EU: EU Member States granted protection to more than half a million asylum seekers in 2017 [67/2018], 19. April 2018

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