The humanitarian impact of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are clear. Afghan and Iraqi refugees account for almost half of all refugees worldwide under UNHCR’s responsibility. The three countries hosting the largest number of refugees in order are Pakistan, Iran and Syria. The first two are almost exclusively Afghans, the last Iraqis (see figure 2).
While the number of refugee figures remained similar to 2008, the number of Internally Displaced People (IDP’s) reached an unprecedented 15.6 million. The increase was largely from tragic conflicts in Congo, Pakistan and Somalia.
Some of the figures they provide.
There were 43.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2009, the highest number since the mid-1990s. Of these, 15.2 million were refugees; 10.4 million who fell under UNHCR’s responsibility and 4.8 million Palestinian refugees under UNRWA’s mandate. The figure also includes 983,000 asylum seekers and 27.1 million internally
Afghanistan has been the leading country of origin of refugees for the past three decades with up to 6.4 million of its citizens having sought international protection during peak years. As of the end of 2009, close to 2.9 million Afghan were still refugees. One out of four refugees in the world is from Afghanistan. Even though Afghan refugees could be found in 71 asylum countries worldwide in 2009, 96 per cent of them were located in Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran alone. Iraqis were the second largest group, with an estimated 1.8 million having sought refuge, mainly in neighboring countries. Afghan and Iraqi refugees account for almost half (45%) of all refugees under UNHCR’s responsibility worldwide.
Pakistan was host to the largest number of refugees worldwide (1.7 million), followed by the Islamic Republic of Iran (1.1 million) and the Syrian Arab Republic (1.05 million; Government estimate). Pakistan also hosted the largest number of refugees in relation to its economic capacity with 745 refugees per 1 USD GDP (PPP) per capita, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (592) and Zimbabwe (245).
Afghan and Iraqi refugees accounted for almost half of all refugees under UNHCR’s responsibility worldwide; one out of four refugees in the world was from Afghanistan (2.9 million). Afghans were located in 71 different asylum countries. Iraqis were the second largest refugee group, with 1.8 million having sought refuge primarily in neighboring countries.
Some 251,500 refugees repatriated voluntarily during 2009, the lowest figure since 1990. In contrast, more than 2.2 million IDPs were able to return, the highest in at least a decade.
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