World Refugee Day: More Than 50 Million People Displaced Worldwide

Number Of Displaced People Worldwide Exceeds 50 Million
The number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has exceeded 50 million for the first time since World War II, a United Nations report shows.

The report – released a day before World Refugee Day –  shows 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013, fully 6 million more than the 45.2 million reported in 2012.

Overall, the biggest refugee populations under UNHCR care and by source country are Afghans, Syrians and Somalis together accounting for more than half of the global refugee total. Pakistan, Iran and Lebanon, meanwhile, hosted more refugees than other countries.

The United Nations also is raising concerns about the situation specifically in Iraq in the wake of alleged war crimes by armed groups, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), about the impacts of the deteriorating security situation on religious and other minorities.

“The protection of civilians should be the primary focus of any strategy to address the current situation,” said the Special Advisers to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and on the Responsibility to Protect, Jennifer Welsh.

They added that as a result of “sectarian and confessional polarization in the country, special consideration must be given to assisting religious and other minorities, which are particularly vulnerable.”

There are concerns that Iraq’s Christian population is under particular threat from the radical Islamists.

Syria’s Neighbors Worried About Spillover Violence
James Bell of the Pew Research Forum looks into a recent poll showing growing concerns among Syria’s neighbors about the spread of radicalism  and spillover violence.

“Worries about spillover violence have been most pronounced in Lebanon, which borders Syria and has taken in a majority of Syrian refugees, many of them children. In Lebanon last year, nine-in-ten said they feared that the conflict between the Assad government and rebels would spill over into other countries. Even more Lebanese (95%) worried that their own country would be affected, with at least six-in-ten among the nation’s Christian, Sunni and Shia communities very concerned about this risk.

Compared with the other countries we surveyed last spring, those in Turkey were somewhat less concerned about the regional impact of Syria’s civil war, although a 55%-majority still worried that the violence would spread,” writes Bell.

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