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UNHCR's 2007 statistics show global refugee and IDP figures climb

Briefing notes

UNHCR's 2007 statistics show global refugee and IDP figures climb

17 June 2008

UNHCR's annual 'Global Trends' report we are releasing now shows there were 11.4 million refugees outside their countries and 26 million others displaced internally by conflict or persecution at the end of 2007, contributing to an unprecedented number of uprooted people under the care of the UN refugee agency.

After a five-year decline in the number of refugees between 2001 and 2005, this is the second year of increases. High Commissioner António Guterres who is in London today to kick off World Refugee Day (20 June) events says that we are now faced with a complex mix of global challenges that could threaten even more forced displacement in the future. They range from multiple new conflict-related emergencies in world hotspots to bad governance, climate-induced environmental degradation that increases competition for scarce resources, and extreme price hikes that have hit the poor the hardest and are generating instability in many places.

The number of refugees under UNHCR's responsibility rose from 9.9 to 11.4 million by the end of 2007. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, the global number of people affected by conflict-induced internal displacement increased from 24.4 million to 26 million. UNHCR currently provides protection or assistance directly or indirectly to 13.7 million of them - up from 12.8 million in 2006. The number of refugees and internally displaced people under UNHCR's care rose by 2.5 million in 2007, reaching an unprecedented 25.1 million by year's end. The statistics come from more than 150 countries.

The report also lists other categories of concern to UNHCR, including stateless people, asylum seekers, returned refugees, returned internally displaced, and 'others.' In all, it lists 31.7 million people entitled to UNHCR support, excluding 4.6 million Palestinian refugees helped by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.