Posted by Guest on June 19, 2017 in Blog

2017-06-19_3.41.27_PM.jpgBy Annie Riley

On June 20th, 2017, the world observes the United Nations’ 17th annual World Refugee Day. In 2016, the number of refugees and other forcibly displaced people continued to increase due to “Violent conflict and persecution, compounded by rising food insecurity, environmental degradation, poor governance and countless other factors.” By the end of 2016, the majority of the worlds refugees was coming from the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria), Palestine, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Somalia,  Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Myanmar, Eritrea, Burundi, and Colombia, respectively.

Numerous conflicts across the globe have led to the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. By the end of 2016, 65.6 million people had been forcibly displaced from their homes, an increase of 300,000 from the end of 2015.

 

Number of Refugees, by the
end of 2016:

Number of Refugees:

Number of People in Refugee-like Situations:

Total Refugees and People in Refugee-like Situations:

Syrian Arab Republic:

5,500,448

 

23,929

5,524,377

Palestine:*

5,266,603

-

5,266,603

Afghanistan:

2,488,689

12,756

2,501,445

South Sudan:

1,436,651

68

1,436,719

Somalia:

1,012,323

-

1,012,323

Sudan:

646,036

4,604

650,640

Democratic Republic of Congo:

537,265

208

537,473

Central African Republic:

490,892

-

490,892

Myanmar:

195,086

295,203

490,289

Eritrea:

431,704

27,726

459,430

Burundi:

408,085

-

408,085

Colombia:

91,240

219,822

311,062

Total, among top 12 countries:

18,505,022 

584,316

19,089,338

Other Refugees:

3,197,198

69,759

3,266,957

Total, worldwide

21,702,220

654,075

22,356,295

 

Figures provided by the UNHCR Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2016 Report

*Data as of January 2016, provided by UNRWA

The following are summaries of the conflicts in the major refugee producing nations:

Syrian Arab Republic:

The war that began in 2011 has become a devastating conflict causing more than 12 million Syrians to flee their homes with the number rising. 

Palestine: 

It has been 69 years since Israel declared independence, and 50 years since the 1967 War. According to UNRWA data from early 2016, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has created more than 5 million Palestinians refugees, 1.5 million of whom live in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. 

Afghanistan:

In 2001 following the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, and for nearly 16 years, the war in Afghanistan has continued and displaced more than four million Afghans.

South Sudan:

A civil war broke out in December 2013 and although both sides signed a peace agreement, fighting continues and the situation remains unstable. The UN Special Advisor of Genocide expressed concern of a “potential for genocide.” The situation continues to worsen; by the end of 2016, almost 1.5 million people had fled the country, and 1.8 million peoplewere internally displaced. 

Somalia:

Decades of conflict have made Somalia a fragile state. Some six million, or nearly half of the Somalian population, are threatened by famine, and more than 2.5 million Somalians are forcibly displaced from their homes.  

Sudan:

Many refugees in the East Horn of Africa migrate through Sudan on their path towards North Africa and Europe. Still, more than 650,000 Sudanese have fled the country and more than 2.2 million Sudanese are internally displaced. Internal conflict and a lack of clean water, food, shelter, health services, and employment further drive further displacement. 

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC):

The postponement of the presidential election and conflict among armed groups has exacerbated the situation in the DRC. The DRC hosts hundreds of thousands of refugees, fleeing regional conflict from countries like South Sudan and Burundi. More than 500,000 from the DRC have fled and more than 2.3 million are internally displaced.

Central African Republic (CAR):

Almost four years ago, militant groups ravaged villages and murdered villagers, causing over 490,000 to flee the country and more than 400,000 to be internally displaced. The situation seemed to be improving when fighting between militia groups escalated and displaced more persons. Many refugees lack basic needs and face malnutrition.

Myanmar:

The National League for Democracy has been leading Myanmar’s new government since March 2016. Fighting between Myanmar’s military and ethnic groups continues following a 2012 “ethnic cleansing” campaign against the Rohingya. By the end of 2016, nearly 500,000 had fled the country, and another 375,000 were displaced.

Burundi:

Violence broke out in 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term. The crisis has driven more than 400,000 Burundians from the country and another 140,000 are internally displaced. 

Eritrea:

Forced conscription and human rights abuses has caused over 450,000 Eritreans to flee the country. The Wall Street Journal calls Eritrea “the world’s fastest-emptying nations … that is playing an outsize role in the biggest global migration crisis since World War II.” Eritrea has been in a state of emergency since the war with Ethiopia in 1998. 

Colombia:

The Colombian government has been fighting guerrilla groups for more than 50 years. While just over 300,000 Colombians had fled the country by the end of 2016, more than 7.4 million are internally displaced, more than any other country. On November 24, 2016, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forced of Colombia (FARC)signed a peace treaty. However, many guerilla groups have ignored the agreement and continue old practices


Annie Riley is a 2017 summer intern at the Arab American Institute.