UNHCR: 2011 Global Trends report

The UNHCR 2011 Global Trends report has been published today. The report analyses the statistical trends and changes in the global populations of concern to UNHCR, i.e.
refugees, returnees, stateless persons and certain groups of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Coverpage of the yearbook

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Some of the key findings of the report:

  • In 2011, an estimated 4.3 million people were newly displaced due to conflict or persecution. More than 800,000 people were displaced as refugees across international borders, the highest number in more than a decade. Another 3.5 million people were newly displaced within the borders of their countries, a 20 per cent increase from 2010.
  • For the fifth consecutive year the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide exceeded 42 million, a result of persistent and new conflicts in different parts of the world. By the end of 2011, the figure stood at 42.5 million. Of these, 15.2 million were refugees: 10.4 million under UNHCR’s mandate, and 4.8 million Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA.
  • The overall figure also included 895,000 asylum-seekers and 26.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).
  • Of the world’s displaced, 25.9 million people – 10.4 million refugees and 15.5 million IDPs – were receiving protection or assistance from UNHCR at the end of 2011. This was 700,000 people more than in 2010.
  • By the end of 2011, UNHCR had identified some 3.5 million stateless persons in 64 countries. However, the Office estimated that the overall number of stateless persons worldwide could be far higher - about 12 million people.
  • Almost three quarters of the refugee population under the UNHCR mandate was in a protracted situation at the end of 2011, amounting to 7.1 million people.
  • Pakistan was host to the largest number of refugees worldwide (1.7 million), followed by the Islamic Republic of Iran (887,000) and the Syrian Arab Republic (755,400; Government estimate).
  • With close to 2.7 million refugees in 79 countries, Afghanistan remained the leading country of origin of refugees in 2011. On average, one out of four refugees in the world originated from Afghanistan.
  • 532,000 refugees repatriated voluntarily during 2011, more than double the figure for 2010 (197,600). Yet, 2011 saw the third lowest number of voluntarily repatriated refugees in a decade. More than 3.2 million IDPs were able to return - the highest number in more than a decade.
  • More than 876,000 people submitted individual applications for asylum or refugee status in 2011. UNHCR offices registered 11 per cent of these claims. With close to 107,000 asylum claims, South Africa was the world’s largest recipient of individual applications.

More information on the 2011 Global Trends report, annexes and a presentation are  available for download on the UNHCR statistics website.

Publication Date:
Mon 18 Jun 2012
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