Get the Facts: Refugees and IDPs

The world is now witnessing the highest levels of displacement ever recorded. Beyond sensational headlines, there is a lot to learn about refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Refugees Worldwide

  • Every day, more than 44,000 people are forced to flee their homes due to conflict or persecution. That’s 1 man, woman, or child every 2 seconds!
  • In total, around 68.5 million people in the world are refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs).
  • A refugee is someone who has had to seek safety in a country other than their own.
  • An IDP is someone who has been displaced from their home or community but remains within their home country.
  • More than 50% of the world’s refugees are children.
  • 85% of refugees are hosted by developing countries. The world’s richest countries only host around 5%.
  • The average time out of country for a refugee is now well over a decade.
  • Last year alone, more than 5,000 men, women, and even unaccompanied children lost their lives during their search for safety and a better life.
  • Two refugee crises that have made headlines this year are the crisis in Venezuela and ongoing unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC.)


  • According to UNHCR, violence, insecurity, and threats, as well as lack of food, medicine, and critical services, have pushed more than 3 million Venezuelans to other countries.
  • This is the largest displacement in recent Latin American history.
  • There has been a 4,000 percent increase in the number of Venezuelans seeking refugee status 2015, mostly in the Americas.
  • Venezuela has traditionally hosted thousands of refugees from the regions and other parts of the world.
  • ADRA is serving refugees from Venezuela in Colombia and Ecuador.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

  • According to UNHCR, “the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the most complex and challenging humanitarian situations worldwide, with multiple conflicts affecting several parts of its vast territory.”
  • 4.5 million are internally displaced within DRC and 826,000 are refugees in other African countries.
  • People are fleeing their homes at a worrying pace, as worsening violence destroys lives and livelihoods across the country.
  • On top of its own displacement crisis, DRC is host to around 530,000 refugees from neighboring countries such as South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR), and Burundi.
  • ADRA works with refugees from DRC in Uganda.

Refugees and Human Rights

  • Seeking asylum in other countries is a human right recognized by Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Countries that have ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention are obligated to protect refugees in their territory.
  • Refugees and asylum seekers have numerous rights, including the right to: not get sent back to their home country; not be punished for illegally entering countries that are party to the Convention and Protocol; housing; work; access to education; access to public assistance; access to courts; get identification and travel documents. (CNN)

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