Global refugee crisis reaches historic levels - Refugee Council
June 18, 2015

Global refugee crisis reaches historic levels

The number of displaced people worldwide has reached a historic high of near 60 million.

The UN’s Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) annual Global Trends report published today shows 59.5 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2014, 8.3 million more than in 2013. Globally, the number of refugees grew from 16.7million to 19.5 million: half of them children.

An average of 42,500 men, women and children became refugees, asylum seekers or were displaced in their own countries every day last year, and one in every 122 people on the planet were either a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum.

2014 marks the second year in the row that the levels of displacement have exceeded 50 million people in the post-World War II era.

According to UNHCR, the growing number of displaced people continues to be driven by conflict including the devastating war in Syria.

The majority of refugees are currently being hosted by developing countries and UNHCR estimates that around a million refugees are in urgent need of a resettlement place.

Despite the growing number of refugees globally, the number of people finding safety in Britain remains extremely low. According to UNHCR, Britain is home to just 0.6% of the world’s refugees. We also receive fewer than the EU average per head of population of asylum.

Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said: “With the world increasingly in thrall to violent conflict and wanton destruction, the forced displacement of people has reached historic proportions.   

“Britain and Europe can no longer watch on impassively, pretending this is someone else’s problem, especially when we see the shameful evidence on our own doorstep as refugees are forced to take deadly risks on the Mediterranean in their desperation to escape the killing zones. 

“Behind these shocking statistics are the tragic stories of men, women and children who have been uprooted and driven from their homes, leaving behind everything they hold dear. 

“As a global leader, David Cameron must tackle this crisis head on by taking immediate steps to offer alternative paths to safety in Britain for some of the world’s most desperate people.”

Read our top 10 global facts about refugees.