UNHCR report shows world’s poorest countries host most refugees

Wednesday 7, January 2015

Syrians, for the first time, have become the largest refugee population under UNHCR's mandate.

GENEVA, January 7 (UNHCR) – Wars in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere caused 5.5 million people to become refugees or internally displaced in the first half of 2014, says a UNHCR report released today. Global displacement now stands at an unprecedented level of 50 million people – and the world’s poorest counties are taking care of most of the refugees.

UNHCR’s new Mid-Year Trends 2014 report shows one in four refugees that the UN refugee agency is dealing with is a Syrian. For the first time they have become the largest refugee population under UNHCR’s mandate, overtaking Afghans.

“In 2014 we have seen the number of people under our care grow to unprecedented levels,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “As long as the international community continues to fail to find political solutions to existing conflicts and to prevent new ones from starting, we will continue to have to deal with the dramatic humanitarian consequences,”

"The economic, social and human cost of caring for refugees and the internally displaced is being borne mostly by poor communities, those who are least able to afford it,” Guterres added. “Enhanced international solidarity is a must if we want to avoid the risk of more and more vulnerable people being left without proper support."

The major refugee-hosting countries in the world are all in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. By comparing the number of refugees to the size of a country’s population or economy, UNHCR’s report puts the contribution made by host nations into context: Relative to the sizes of their populations Lebanon and Jordan host the largest number of refugees, while relative to the sizes of their economies the burdens carried by Ethiopia and Pakistan are greatest.

Last year, UNHCR’s Global Trends 2013 report showed that developing countries hosted 86 percent of the world’s refugees, and that nearly half of the refugees under UNHCR’s mandate lived in countries where the GDP per capita was less than USD $5,000.

In all, the number of refugees under UNHCR’s mandate reached 13 million by mid 2014, the highest since 1996, while the total number of internally displaced people protected or assisted by the agency reached a new high of 26 million. As UNHCR only provides help for IDPs in countries where governments request its involvement, this figure does not include all internally displaced people

The full report can be downloaded here: http://unhcr.org/54aa91d89.html with accompanying tables available here: http://www.unhcr.org/statistics/mid2014stats.zip. [Links must be copied and pasted into a browser to work.] 


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