11 Facts About Refugees

1. A refugee is a person who is outside his or her country of nationality and can't return due to a well-founded fear of persecution because of his or her race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

2. In early 2012, there were 15.2 million refugees around the world, with the highest number in Pakistan (4.8 million) and the most refugees originating from Afghanistan (2.7 million).

3. It’s estimated that 80% of refugees are women and children. In 2012, 46% were under the age of 18 and 48% were women.

4. An asylum seeker is a person who is looking to be recognized as a refugee, but has not yet received formal refugee status. The most asylum seekers come from Pakistan, Iran and Sri Lanka.

5. Internally displaced people (IDPs) are those who have been forced to leave their homes as a result of armed conflict, generalized violence or human rights violations. Unlike refugees they have not crossed an international border.

6. In 2011, there were roughly 26.4 million people displaced internally (within their country of origin) by conflict.

7. Under international law, refugees are not allowed to be forced back to the countries they have fled.

8. Developing countries host 80% of the world’s refugees.

9. In 2011, the countries with the most number of IDPs were Colombia (3.8 million), Sudan (2.4 million), Democratic Republic of Congo (1.7 million), Somalia (1.4 million) and Iraq (1.3 million).

10. A total of 895,000 individual applications for asylum or refugee status were submitted to governments and UNHCR offices in 166 countries in 2011. Roughly 11% of these requests were fulfilled.

11. 2011 saw a significant number of people seeking asylum or refugee status from countries experiencing recent or ongoing conflict or security concerns.

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