UNHCR reports 79.5 million displaced

UNHCR released its annual Global Trends report, covering displacement that occurred during 2019. The report says the number of people forcibly displaced was 79.5 million at the end of 2019, leaving the population of forcibly displaced at another record high.

Of these 79.5 million forcibly displaced,

  • 26 million were refugees
  • 45.7 million were internally displaced
  • 4.2 million were asylum seekers

85% of the world's refugees and Venezuelans displaced abroad were hosted in deveoping countries.

About 73% of refugees live in countries neighbouring their countries of origin.

About 40% of the displaced are children.

During the year, 11 million people were newly displaced.

Relative to their national populations, the island of Aruba hosted the largest number of Venezuelans displaced abroad (1 in 6) while Lebanon hosted the largest number of refugees (1 in 7) [...] In addition, Lebanon hosted 476,000 and Jordan 2.3 million Palestine refugees under UNRWA’s mandate. [...]

More than two thirds (68 per cent) of all refugees and Venezuelans displaced abroad came from just five countries.

  • Syrian Arab Republic (6.6 million)
  • Venezuela (3.7 million)
  • Afghanistan (2.7 million)
  • South Sudan (2.2 million)
  • Myanmar (1.1 million)


Asylum-seekers submitted 2.0 million new claims. The United States of America was the world’s largest recipient of new individual applications (301,000), followed by Peru (259,800), Germany (142,500), France (123,900) and Spain (118,300).

The report can be accessed at the following link:

UNHCR: Global Trends. Forced Displacement in 2019, 18 June 2020

The annual increase, from a figure of 70.8 million at the end of 2018, is a result of two main factors. First is worrying new displacement in 2019, particularly in Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sahel, Yemen and Syria – the latter now in its tenth year of conflict and accounting on its own for 13.2 million refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people, fully a sixth of the world’s total.

Second is a better presentation of the situation of Venezuelans outside their country, many of whom are not legally registered as refugees or asylum-seekers, but for whom protection-sensitive arrangements are required. (UNHCR, 18 June 2020)

For numbers on asylum decisions in the European Union in 2019, see the following EUROSTAT publication:

In 2019, the European Union of 27 Member States (EU) granted protection status to 295 800 asylum seekers. Compared to 2018 (316 200), total number of persons granted protection status was down by 6%. [...]

The largest group of beneficiaries of protection status in the EU in 2019 remained Syrians (78 600 or 27% of the total number of persons granted protection status in the EU), followed by Afghans (40 000 or 14%) and Venezuelans (37 500 or 13%). The number of Venezuelans rose by nearly 40 times in 2019 compared with 2018, when almost 1 000 Venezuelans were granted protection status in the EU.

Among the Syrians granted protection status in the EU, 71% were recorded in Germany (56 100). For the Afghans the highest share 41% was also recorded in Germany (16 200). Nearly all grants of protection status to Venezuelans were recorded in Spain (35 300), 94% of EU total. [...]

In 2019, the highest number of persons granted protection status was registered in Germany (116 200 or 39% of all positive decisions), ahead of France (42 100 or 14%), Spain (38 500 or 13%) and Italy (31 000 or 10%). These four Member States counted together over three quarters of all positive decisions issued in the EU.

EUROSTAT: Asylum decisions in the EU - EU granted protection to almost 300 000 asylumseekers in 2019 [70/2020], 27 April 2020

Regarding the EU statistics, also see: ECRE: Asylum statistics in Europe: Briefing, June 2020

Update: Also see EASO's annual report: EASO: EASO Asylum Report 2020; Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union, June 2020

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