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Canada pledges $50-million to help refugees as number of displaced people hits new high

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says Canada is contributing $50.7 million to the United Nations refugee agency for humanitarian assistance.

Alexander says the money for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees will support efforts to improve health and living conditions, as well as protection, for refugees and internally displaced people in many regions.

The announcement comes on World Refugee Day and after the UN agency said the number of refugees around the world has topped 50 million for the first time since the Second World War.

The Canadian Press


More than 50 million displaced peoples

More than 32,200 refugees fled their homes every day in 2013 to seek protection elsewhere or within the borders of their own country, according to a UN report released on World Refugee Day. By the end of last year, 51.2 million people worldwide were considered forcibly displaced due to conflict and persecution, the highest number since WWII.

  • 16.7 million refugees
  • 33.3 million individuals displaced within their own borders
  • 1.1 million asylum applications

If these 51.2 million persons were a nation, they would make up the 26th largest in the world.

Top host countries

The least developed countries hosted 86 per cent of the world’s refugees, the highest value in more than two decades.


  • The Americas hosted the smallest share of refugees globally (7%)
  • Canada hosted 182,497 total refugees and asylum seekers
  • Germany was world’s largest single recipient of new asylum claims
  • One in every two refugees is a child, the highest figure in a decade
Faisal Mahmood/Reuters

Syria catching up to Afghanistan

More than half of all refugees worldwide came from three countries:

  • Afghanistan (2.56 million)
  • Syria (2.47 million)
  • Somalia (1.12 million)

Afghanistan has been the main refugee country of origin for more than three decades. One out of every five refugees in the world is from Afghanistan.

But at the current pace of the conflict and outflow from Syria, the number of Syrian refugees could replace Afghans during the course of 2014, the UN report said. At the end of 2013, Syrian refugees were the second largest refugee group in the world, a jump from 36th place just two years earlier.

Resettlement arrivals of refugees, 2013

Includes both arrivals with and without UNHCR assistance.

SOURCE: UNHCR/Governments

A total of 98,400 refugees were admitted by 21 resettlement countries, according to government statistics. The U.S., Australia and Canada admitted 90 per cent of resettled refugees in 2013.

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