Youth Perspectives

84% of refugees live in developing countries 

Youth who fled fighting in South Sudan attend classes in a tent at Bidi Bidi refugee’s resettlement camp near the border with South Sudan, in Yumbe district, northern Uganda December 7, 2016. REUTERS/James Akena

Some of the world's poorest nations are the most receptive to refugees Image: REUTERS/James Akena

Charlotte Edmond
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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Migration

The world's poorest countries continue to shoulder the burden of the global refugee crisis, according to the UNHCR’s latest annual Global Trends report.

The report finds that developing regions host 84% of the world's refugees under the UNHCR's mandate.

Meanwhile, some of the poorest countries in the world granted legal asylum status to a growing number of refugees - 28% of the global total.

This places a heavy burden on economies struggling to grow and with few extra resources to support new people coming in.

Partly this reflects the lack of international consensus when it comes to homing refugees, but is also due to the fact many conflict-ridden countries are surrounded by poor neighbours.

Image: UNHCR

At the end of 2016, there were 65.6 million people forcibly displaced worldwide – an increase of 300,000 from the previous year. Meanwhile, the global number of refugees stands at 22.5 million. More than half of these (55%), come from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan.

Image: UNHCR

Turkey hosts the most refugees

Turkey hosted almost 3 million refugees in 2016, the largest population of any country. Most of these fled from conflict in neighbouring Syria, with refugee numbers climbing by nearly half a million - from 2.5 million to 2.9 million - in the space of a year.

Pakistan has the second largest refugee population, despite overall numbers falling since many have returned to their home country. The majority of its 1.6 million displaced inhabitants come from Afghanistan.

Image: UNHCR

Germany is the only European country in a list of the top 10 host nations; it saw a massive jump in the size of its refugee population in 2016. Numbers almost doubled to 669,500 over the course of the year after a change in the treatment of asylum claims.

Meanwhile, in Lebanon, one in six people was a refugee in 2016 meaning that the country had the largest number of displaced people relative to its own population. Again, most of the 1 million people seeking refuge in the country come from Syria, although a significant proportion originate from Iraq.

Image: UNHCR

Growing unrest in the world’s newest country, South Sudan, means it became the fastest-growing source of new refugees last year. This group grew by 64% during the second half of the year, to 1.4 million, the majority of whom were children. As a result, Uganda saw a massive hike in its refugee population, which almost doubled to just under a million.

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