Refugee populations: Fact file

According to the UNHCR, the total number of refugees worldwide reached 8.4 million by the end of 2005, the lowest level since 1980.

    Refugee numbers have decreased by 12% in 2005

    Refugee numbers have decreased by 12% in 2005, the fifth consecutive year in which the global refugee population has dropped.
       
    In an editorial released for World Refugee Day, Antonio Guterres, the UNHCR chief, said that while global refugee figures had dropped 31% since 2001, returnees often face a bleak future. He urged greater focus on ensuring countries moved forwards after conflict.

    "The international community owes returning refugees more than just a cooking pot and a handshake when they cross the border," he said.

    "We must continue to nurture their return and reintegration and to support the communities to which they are returning."

    Here is a list of major refugee populations at the end of 2005 ahead of World Refugee Day on Tuesday:
       

    Country of Origin         Asylum                          Population
       
    Afghanistan             Pakistan/Iran                2,414,695

    Sudan                     Chad/Uganda                   730,914

    Burundi                   Tanzania/Democratic         485,506
                                  Republic of Congo

    Democratic              Tanzania/Zambia              461,248 
    Republic of Congo

    Somalia                   Kenya/Yemen                  390,026

    Palestinian              Saudi Arabia/Egypt           349,828
    Territories*
    Vietnam                  China/Germany                 348,446

    Liberia                    Guinea/Ivory Coast           336,115
    Iraq                         Iran/Germany                   312,480

    Azerbaijan              Armenia/Germany              250,911

       
    * Does not include about four million Palestinian refugees living in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
       
    Source: The UN Refugee Agency (

    www.unhcr.org

    )

    SOURCE: Reuters


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