Refugees and Forcibly Displaced Persons
Facts and Figures
At the end of 2011:
- 42.5 million forcibly displaced people, of which
- 5 - 7% people living with disabilities, one third of them children
- 15.2 million were refugees, of which:
- 46% were children under the age of 18
- 48% were women and girls
- 895,000 asylum-seekers
- 26.4 million IDPs
- 12 million stateless persons
- 3.7 million returnees
Source: UNHCR's Global Trends 2011
There are several types of forcibly displaced persons. But all one one thing in common:
Every minute eight people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror.
If conflict threatened your family, what would you do? Stay and risk your lives? Or try to flee, and risk kidnap, rape or torture?
For many the choice is between the horrific or something worse.
A refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country owing to “a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”, according to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention. Many refugees are in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters.
Developing countries hosted four-fifths of the world’s refugees. The 48 Least Developed Countries provided asylum to 2.3 million refugees.
Asylum seekers say they are refugees and have fled their homes as refugees do, but their claim to refugee status is not yet definitively evaluated in the country to which they fled.
Internally Displaced Persons
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are people who have not crossed an international border but have moved to a different region than the one they call home within their own country.
Stateless persons do not have a recognized nationality and do not belong to any country.
Statelessness situations are usually caused by discrimination against certain groups. Their lack of identification — a citizenship certificate — can exclude them from access to important government services, including health care, education or employment.
Returnees are former refugees who return to their own countries or regions of origin after time in exile. Returnees need continuous support and reintegration assistance to ensure that they can rebuild their lives at home.