The scenes from the daily news have been compelling and often horrific: a child lying dead in the surf; massive camps in the desert as large as cities; refugees herded behind barbed wire and huddled in train stations. The statistics on refugees have been equally alarming. Every day in 2014, the world averaged 42,500 new refugees and internally displaced people, or IDPs—people who were forced from their homes but have not crossed an international border. In June 2014, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, announced that global forced displacement, the combined total of both refugees and IDPs, topped 50 million people for the first time since World War II. This total is now close to 60 million and still rising. Half of these refugees are under 18 years of age.
This report attempts to place the current global refugee problem within a clearer context to allow for better informed policy decisions by all involved. There should be no mistake: The current refugee crisis is international and cannot be viewed as merely a European or Middle Eastern problem.
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