Maps taken from Worldmapper.org.
This week marks the 20th anniversary of Refugee Week, a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events celebrating the contribution of refugees to the UK and encouraging understanding within local communities.
Using data from the UNHCR, Worldmapper have put together a series of cartograms highlighting the global distribution of refugees and internally displaced persons. The two maps, shown above, provide a longer term view of the origin and destination countries of these vulnerable groups of people. The global movement of refugees is highly dynamic and can change drastically year on year. These shifts can be accentuated further by media coverage, which in turn influences public perception. Using longer term data gives us a clearer idea of the movement of people based on verified data, and allows us to see fluctuations in regions that are experiencing ongoing crises.
The maps document the movement of over 170 million people between 2000 and 2015, and the data highlights the changing geopolitical situations, and areas of conflict, during that period. The main origin continents for refugees were Asia at 52% and Africa at 33%, while Europe was much lower at 6%. Conflicts in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Somalia, played a large role in the collective fleeing of over 10 million refugees from each country.
The destination countries map shows that the majority of refugees flee close to home, often in neighbouring countries. Asian countries make up destinations for 47% of refugees and Africa follows with 28%. Of the five major destination countries, four of these neighboured a conflict region: Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Kenya. Europe was the destination for just under a fifth of the total global number of refugees between 2000 and 2015. Germany was the fifth major destination country due, in part, to its recent open door policy and intake of refugees from 2015 onwards.
The maps show the shifting nature of conflicts and that much can change in only a decade. Recent figures published by the UNHCR state that in the past two decades, the global population of forcibly displaced people has grown significantly from 33.9 million people in 1997 to 65.6 million people in 2016 alone. The world’s forcibly displaced population is now at a record high.
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