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).
- 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)