People on the Move

Every day across the world people make the difficult decision to leave their homes.

War, persecution, environmental disaster, and poverty are just some of the reasons why a person might have to leave their family, community, or country.

People on the Move

Every day across the world people make the difficult decision to leave their homes.

War, persecution, environmental disaster, and poverty are just some of the reasons why a person might have to leave their family, community, or country.

Refugees leave their country because they have no other choice and fear for their own life or safety or that of their family. Refugees also flee their country when their government will not or cannot protect them from serious human rights abuses.

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) and those forced to move within their own country because of war, persecution, or environmental disasters, rather than cross national borders.

Asylum seekers are people whose have reached another country and have submitted or will submit claims for refugee status; they have not been formally recognized as refugees. They have the same human rights as everyone else. Article 14 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that: "Everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution."

A migrant is a person who moves from one place to another to live, and usually to work, either temporarily or permanently. They may be forced to leave because they do not have access to adequate food, water, or shelter, or in order to ensure the safety and security of themselves and their families. They may move to take up employment or to be reunited with family members. Many leave for a combination of reasons.

People often have more than one reason for leaving their home. Whatever the reason, however, all have human rights. In addition, refugees have a right to international protection.

Key facts

  • There are an estimated 19.5 million refugees in the world.
  • In June 2015, UNHCR estimated that almost 1,153,300 refugees needed resettlement globally.
  • Developing countries host 86% of the world’s refugees.
  • 59.5 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide.
  • At the end of 2014, a record-breaking 38 million people were forcibly displaced within their own country by violence. A massive 11 million of these internally displaced people (IDPs) were newly uprooted during 2014.
  • During 2014, conflict and persecution forced an average of 42,500 persons per day to leave their homes and seek protection elsewhere, either within the borders of their countries or in other countries.
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