Forced displacement in 2015
While the rate of increase has slowed compared with the particularly sharp rises of the past couple of years, the current number of displaced globally is nonetheless the highest since the aftermath of World War II. Since 2011, when UNHCR announced a new record of 42.5 million forcibly displaced people globally, these numbers have risen sharply each year, from 45.2 million in 2012 to 51.2 million in 2013 and 59.5 million in 2014. This is an increase of more than 50 per cent in five years.
The total number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) protected or assisted by UNHCR stood at 52.6 million, compared to 46.7 million at the end of 2014. During the course of 2015 more than 12.4 million individuals were forced to leave
their homes and seek protection elsewhere; of this number, some 8.6 million remained within their own countries and around 1.8 million sought international protection abroad. In addition, 2.0 million new claims for asylum were made within the year.
The global population of forcibly displaced people today is larger than the entire population of the United Kingdom.5 If they were a country, the forcibly displaced would be the 21st largest in the world. Some nationalities were particularly affected by forced displacement. With 4.9 million refugees, 6.6 million IDPs, and nearly 250,000 asylum-seekers, an estimated 11.7 million Syrians were displaced by end-2015, seeking protection within Syria or abroad.
Other large displaced populations – those with over 2 million people displaced, either internally or as refugees or asylum-seekers – at the end of 2015 were Afghans, Colombians, Congolese, Iraqis, Nigerians, Somalis, Sudanese, South Sudanese, and Yemenis.