51.2 Million People were Forcibly Displaced Worldwide in 2013 | The Center for Victims of Torture

51.2 Million People were Forcibly Displaced Worldwide in 2013

Monday, June 30, 2014

On June 20 – World Refugee Day – the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released its annual Global Trends report on the number of refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people worldwide due to persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations. This year’s report finds that an astonishing 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013 – six million more than the 45.2 million reported in 2012. According to UNHCR, the 2013 number marks the first time in the post-World War II era that global forced displacement exceeded 50 million people.


If these 51.2 million persons were a nation, they would make up the 26th largest in the world.


UNHCR attributes the increase largely to the war in Syria. The violence there resulted in 2.5 million people forced into becoming refugees and 6.5 million becoming internally displaced by the end of last year.


We looked through the Global Trends report for displacement data in the places where CVT works internationally - Jordan (with Iraqi and Syrian torture survivors), Kenya (with Somali torture survivors in Dadaab and with urban refugees in Nairobi), and Ethiopia (with Eritrean refugees).

Jordan: Jordan registered 667,000 Syrian refugees in 2013 and now is the world’s fourth largest refugee-hosting country. Jordan’s overall refugee population for the year was 641,900 as registration records for Syrian refugees were inactivated because they moved from camps to urban or rural areas or departures from Jordan to elsewhere. The total number does include 55,500 Iraqi refugees.

Kenya: Kenya hosted 534,900 refugees at the end of 2013, 30,000 fewer people compared to the start of the year. UNHCR indicates this decrease is primarily the result of the verification of registration records among Somali refugees in the Dadaab refugee complex.

Ethiopia: In 2013, 55,000 people arrived in Ethiopia, mostly from Eritrea and Somalia, but also from South Sudan and Sudan. UNHCR reports that, since 2008, more than 346,700 refugees arrived in Ethiopia. By the end of 2013, the total refugee population had swelled to 433,900 – the eighth largest refugee population in the world.

If you’d like to learn more about global forced displacement in 2013, the full Global Trends report is available here.


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