On the eve of World Refugee Day (20 June), UNHCR published its report on global trends in displacement in 2012. According to the report, in 2012, approximately 23,000 people were forced to flee their homes every single day. 2012 saw the highest number of people in 18 years forced to flee, not only their homes, but also their countries, with 1.1 million newly recorded refugees. The total displaced population worldwide was 45.2 million, including refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons.

The Syrian civil war has been a major factor contributing to displacement over the past year. Indeed, war remains the key factor driving displacement; 55% of all refugees in UNHCR’s report come from just five war-affected states: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan. Most refugees, four out of five, continue to find refuge in developing countries.

Across Europe, and across the world in 100 different countries, ECRE member organisations and others organised activities to draw the world’s attention to refugee issues on World Refugee Day, Thursday 20 June.

In Belgium, people taking the metro or train read the stories of Kovan*, a 17-year-old refugee who had to flee Iraq because of his sexuality and now lives in Brussels, and found out more about the eight people in the world who are forced to flee every minute to escape war and persecution. You can follow what is happening for World Refugee Day in other countries across Europe by following @ecre #WorldRefugeeDay on Twitter.

*Names have been changed

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 21 June 2013
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