At the beginning of 2016, 24.5 million people had fled their own country, and were living as refugees or awaiting decisions on asylum. In addition, 40.8 million were displaced by conflict and violence within their own country, according to NRC´s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In 2015 alone the global figure of displaced people increased by 10 per cent. While an increasing number of people have been forced to flee from their homes, few have been able to return to their country of origin, be integrated where they are or resettled in another country.
“It is unacceptable that too many have no escape from their status as refugees. We must become better at lifting people out of the displacement statistics and offer solutions to men, women and children, who have been forced to flee war and conflict. They need to be able to get on with their normal lives,” said Egeland.
NRC calls for increased efforts to find political solutions to current conflicts.
“The sharp increase in the number of people living in forced displacement does not only reflect the explosive war in Syria, but also the failure to solve protracted conflicts in countries like Afghanistan, Somalia and DR Congo. Global and regional powers must assume greater responsibility to prevent conflicts from escalating and put an end to brutal and protracted wars,” said Egeland.
Last year, NRC witnessed an increase in human rights violations against refugees in a series of countries.
“People who are forced to flee today are just as much in need of protection as European refugees were after the Second World War when the Refugee Convention was established. Nevertheless, we have witnessed an epidemic spread of rights violations, including in Europe. We all hold a responsibility to ensure that people who need our protection don’t meet closed doors,” said Egeland.
“When European countries with relatively few refugees close their borders, it is harder for us to tell countries like Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan to keep their borders open to tens of thousands of Syrians, desperately fleeing a horrific war.”
It is about time we put in place a better system for global responsibility sharing, argues NRC.
“In the Refugee Convention, the need for international cooperation is recognised. However, faced with the current displacement crises, only a handful of countries have assumed most of the global responsibility. Every country must contribute, both by providing protection to people displaced by war and persecution and by providing financial support to humanitarian operations, local integration, and voluntary and safe returns,” Egeland added.
- 65.3 million people were living in forced displacement at the beginning of 2016. This is an increase of 5.8 million people compared to the previous year, when 59.5 million were living in forced displacement.
- 21.3 million people are refugees.
- 3.2 million people are waiting for their asylum applications to be processed.
- 40.8 million people are internally displaced.
- Around half of the world’s displaced are children.
- The Syria crisis has displaced the highest number of people. In total 11.7 million people have fled the war, divided between 6.6 million internally displaced, and 5.1 million refugees and asylum seekers.
- The largest recipient countries of refugees are Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, South Africa, Iran, Ethiopia and Germany.
- 201,000 refugees were able to return to their country of origin last year (mainly Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia).
- 107,000 were admitted for resettlement in another country.
- The number of people in forced displacement does not include people displaced due to natural disasters. According to NRC’s Centre for Internally Displaced (IDMC), 19.2 million people were displaced because of natural disasters in 2015 alone.