More Than 65 Million People Have Been Forced to Flee for Their Lives

June 20 marks World Refugee Day, a time to honor the courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. According to the United Nations (U.N.), the number of displaced people reached a staggering 65.3 million at the end of 2015. (These are the most recent complete numbers available.) This is a 5.8 million increase from the previous year and is the highest number of displaced persons ever recorded.

This means that during every minute of every day 24 people were forced to flee their homes in 2015.

Who Are The Displaced People?†

The U.N. Refugee Convention states that a refugee is a person who has fled their home and country because of ďa well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

Of the 65.3 million displaced persons in 2015, 21.3 million were refugees. Another 40.8 million people were internally displaced people, meaning that they had been forced to leave their home and move to a different region, but had not left their country.

A third group are asylum-seekers. By the end of 2015, around 3.2 million people had left their home, but were waiting for a decision on their application for asylum in the countries to which they had fled.

Which Countries Are They Fleeing And Why?

Most refugees come from Syria, due to the civil war that has been raging there since 2011. Around four million Syrian refugees are living in other countries now. As the situation has worsened, the economy has collapsed, giving its citizens another reason for leaving their home.

Afghanistan has the second largest number of refugees: Around two and a half million Afghans have fled their home and are seeking refuge in other countries. They are escaping the violence in their country, as they have been doing for years. Afghanistan had produced the largest number of refugees for 32 years before conditions worsened in Iraq and Syria.†

Third on this tragic list is Somalia, with over a million Somalis opting to leave their country. While civil conflicts have driven many Somalis out, there have also been desperate conditions such as famines and droughts that have forced people to leave the country.


Photo Credit: Steve Gumaer

As noted above, other reasons for fleeing include persecution on account of race, religion, sexual identity and ethnicity. The Rohingya people, for example, seen above, have been forced to leave Myanmar in what looks like a deliberate attempt at ethnic cleansing. Thousands of them have fled their country, and have told of rape, torture, watching their homes burn down and even execution of family members.

Which Countries Are They Heading To?†

Turkey accepted 2.5 million refugees in 2015, more than any other country. Next came Pakistan, with 1.6 million; Lebanon with 1.1 million; Iran with 979,400; and Ethiopia with 736,100.†

Lebanon is a much smaller country than the other four, so it actually accepted the largest number of refugees in relation to its population: 183 refugees per 1,000 Lebanese inhabitants.

The Story Of One Syrian Refugee

Alex Assali fled his home town of Damascus in 2006. He found a new home in Libya, where he had a job and security. But when civil war broke out in Libya in 2014, he was forced to escape once more. Thankfully, he discovered that Germany would welcome him and give him permission to work. In gratitude for this, he now runs a charity soup kitchen in Berlin and is thrilled that he is able to give back.

You can follow Assaliís story here:

Take Action

As you can see, the U.S. is not one of the countries most open to receiving refugees.

Refugees deserve our admiration, our support and our love. Yet the Trump administration continues to vilify them and attempt to block their access to the U.S.

If you agree that the U.S. should provide a role model for other countries by opening its arms to refugees, please sign the Care2 petition telling President Trump to welcome more refugees to the United States of America.


Photo Credit: By Haeferl (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


heather g
heather g2 days ago

It is alarming that a big country like the USA doesn't take in millions of refugees. I agree with most of Tony Camilleri's opinions, although many Americans would not welcome all the newcomers.

Margie F5 days ago

Just imagine in 65 million people stood up, instead of fleeing, what that would do to the country.

Tony Camilleri
Tony Camilleri5 days ago

By the way, the USA with its illegal and unjust wars and invasions is directly responsible for the refugees and should be taking them in not forcing other countries to take them.
This apart, many illegal immigrants who are not entitled are taking the opportunity of using the protection given to refugees to emigrate illegally to other countries.
Examples abound of illegal immigrants who travel through many safe countries but continue to Europe and are granted protection when they do not deserve any because the European establishment is controlled by CAPITALISTS who want vast amounts of people to emigrate, whether legally or illegally, to undermine the local workers and destroy their wages and working conditions for which they had fought over the years by inundating the labour supply so that they can determine wages and working conditions because emigrants are willing to work for miserly wages and working conditions undermining the local workers.
This is apart from the immigrants destroying the welfare system including free health care and other services for which the European workers had not only fought tooth and nail to introduce, but for which they have also been paying all their life and are seeing the system being destroyed by the immigrants.
If this continues any longer, there will be a European-wide revolution which will wipe out all immigrants and the elite and the blood shed during the French and Russian revolutions will look like a drop in the ocean c

Tony Camilleri
Tony Camilleri5 days ago

Distinguish between the American people and the establishment that is run and controlled by the weapons manufacturers.
The USA is to blame for all the wars throughout the world due to their interference in the internal affairs and undermining of governments whom the USA elite does not like.
Just do a google search with the words "american invasions" and "american interventions".
As an example, the USA invaded Europe in WWII and is still occupying it directly with its military bases and indirectly through NATO with the petty excuse first of the USSR and now Russia.
Just get all the American military OUT of every other country and concern yourselves with your own American affairs.
Why should the USA have 900 military bases in 153 different countries?
This only leads to world-wide instability and hatred for the American people because people do not distinguish between the American people and the American establishment.

Elaine D
Elaine D5 days ago

Thank you

Marija M
Marija M6 days ago

Forced - who forced them to flee - and why???

Beverly D
Beverly D7 days ago

I signed the petition some time back - it breaks my heart what all of these innocent people suffer, and so ashamed of what my own Country refuses in their aid. Trump needs to go, there's too much conflict within our own government to get Anything done correctly while he's in office. God bless~

Ch Bradley
Ch Bradley7 days ago

Are you proud of what we are becoming? Cold and lacking compassion? People including that set of politicians who want power over anything else, racists, and cowardly religious bigots have used fear to promote something that is evil and un-American. For those of you that purport to be Christians, yet you hate and you let fear and intolerance dominate your decisions, Matthew 25:40 "And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’" Hate is not a family value. The poor, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and people of differing religious beliefs are not what causes societal issues - lack of compassion for and fear of people who are different is causing it.

Cruel J
Cruel Justice7 days ago

The US is a role model for WAR.

Anne M
Anne Moran7 days ago

LOVED the video... Assali is a good man,, he has a heart,, and understands the human condition.. - I hope that after the 5 years he was granted to work in Germany,, he will be granted another, and another, and another 5 years, because he is needed there, especially when there are so many refugees going to Germany.. - 65million people displaced, is hard to fathom.. - Just think, if that was us,, what would we do ?? - Must be so difficult,,, I can't even imagine..