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


Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

HEIKKI R4 months ago


ANA MARIJA R5 months ago

#NoMoreLabels #WeAreAllHuman #withrefugees ❤️

Glennis W
Glennis Whitney6 months ago

Human Rights should have more say on how these poor people and kids are treated Despicable and horrible Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis Whitney6 months ago

Deplorable and despicable these people are human and just seeking peace from all the fighting Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis Whitney6 months ago

Thump is as bad as the Australian Government they lock them up for years here or send them to Manis Island or Naru Despicable and sickening Thank you for caring and sharing

Nicole Heindryckx
Nicole Heindryckx6 months ago

If Americans would stop invading where ever they want to, under the excuse of helping people, but in fact to protect their own interests money wise, the world would be a better place to live. Vietnam, Korea, Iraq , Afghanistan, and so many more... ... They make life impossible for the people of these countries, but refuse to take them in for a limited number of years, until they can safely return home. And be sure : they will return home. Most of the people who fled their country because of war situations, are very eager to return back to their native country. This is not the case for economic immigrants. And this is not so difficult to understand. Take for instance the Moroccan, Turkish and Tunisian people living in my country : we begged on our knees that they would come to our country to work here. There were no restrictions with regard to the number of people, or the number of years they could stay here. We had a lack of laborers as a result of the 2nd world war, and simultaneously economy was booming. Then, many things came together : 1/ The men came here to work in big numbers 2/ Their families were allowed to come over and they got a lot of children 3/ our women went working, so that in fact, we did not need them any longer so badly 4/ Economy got worse after the 1st oil crisis in 1960/1970 ; 5/ machines and robots took over the job of a lot of people... and now we want them to leave everything they

Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx6 months ago

Already for many decades I say to myself : I am so happy that my crib stood in W. Europe and not in Africa, Asia or any other continent / country where war and famine are "normal". Although my parents were very simple laborers, they just earned enough money for their children to go to school till the age of 18, and we had our own, small house with a garden to grow our vegs and keep some chickens and rabbits. That's more than enough to make people happy and fight for their future. We were invaded for the last time during the 2nd WW, and I remember many stories my grandparents told me about the very bad circumstances in which they lived. Many people also fled our country. Many of us also were refugees. People fled mainly from big cities, as in rural areas, one could provide for their own food, and women sometimes went working with the farmers,for which they did not receive money, but instead butter, or a piece of bacon, or some flour to bake bread. There was a lot of starvation, and we ate dogs, rats, cats, etc.. Bombing only started towards the end of the war, destroying cities PARTLY. But situations have changed. When countries are invaded now, bombardments are so severe, that people MUST FLEE to survive. It is therefore totally INHUMANE that some countries think they have the right NOT to allow refugees to come to their countries, temporarily. Most of us think these people will all stay here. This is not the case. Mos

Beryl Ludwig
Beryl Ludwig6 months ago

thank you

Lisa M
Lisa M6 months ago