Thursday, June 21, 2007

Refugee numbers on the increase

GENEVA, June 19 (UNHCR) – The UN refugee agency announced on Tuesday that the number of refugees in the world has increased for the first time since 2002, largely as a result of the crisis in Iraq.

UNHCR's "2006 Global Trends" report, released today, shows the number of refugees under the agency's mandate rising last year by 14 percent to almost 10 million, the highest level since 2002. At the same time, the share of other categories of people under the agency's different mandates also grew sharply, in most cases as a result of improved registration systems and more accurate statistics.

"As the number of those uprooted by persecution, intolerance and violence around the world increases, we must face the challenges and demands of a changing world, while remaining faithful to our mandate of defending the rights of refugees and other people we care for," said High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.

The full 2006 Global Trends – a statistical overview of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced and stateless persons report, produced by UNHCR's Field Information and Coordination Support Section, is available on UNHCR's website: