U.N. Report: 1 in 113 People on Earth Are Displaced
Coinciding with World Refugee Day, the United Nations refugee agency released a sobering report on Monday: by the end of 2015, 65.3 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes, the highest number since World War II.
Squatting in temporary, tattered tent camps within their own countries or abroad, wandering, or seeking asylum, 2015 saw 12.4 million people added to the overall tally. Over half of the world’s displaced peoples are children. Over half come from three countries where terrorism, civil war, and tyrannical governance have uprooted cities and towns from any semblance of normalcy: Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia.
“We are facing the biggest refugee and displacement crisis of our time. Above all, this is not just a crisis of numbers; it is also a crisis of solidarity,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. It is easy to get lost in incomprehensible figures. To put it in perspective: 65.3 million is nearly a fifth of America’s total population. If the displaced population were a country, it would be the 21st largest on the planet. Every minute, 24 people are displaced. That is 34,000 each day. One of every 113 people on earth is either seeking asylum, a refugee, or internally displaced.
According to the U.N., 21.3 million of the 65.3 million displaced people have been shuffled to a land outside their home country. Turkey is the most generous of host countries, with 2.5 million resettled refugees. Pakistan is second (1.6 million) and Lebanon third (1.1. million). Though it pledges more financial support, food assistance, and humanitarian aid than any other country, the United States resettled fewer than 70,000 refugees in 2015 and roughly 3,252,000 since 1975. President Obama, in a statement released Monday, urged America and the rest of the world to “do more:”
Protecting and assisting refugees is a part of our history as a Nation, and we will continue to alleviate the suffering of refugees abroad, and to welcome them here at home, because doing so reflects our American values and our noblest traditions as a Nation, enriches our society, and strengthens our collective security.
In September, during the U.N. General Assembly Summit in New York, Obama will host a meeting of world leaders to address the crisis, the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees. Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, which is the U.N. arm that issued the report on Monday, called on all able governments to address the causes of the tragic and disastrous crisis. “I hope that the message carried by those forcibly displaced reaches the leaderships: We need action, political action, to stop conflicts,” he said. “The message that they have carried is: ‘If you don’t solve problems, problems will come to you.’