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Women’s Refugee Commission Supports World Refugee Day Resolutions Reaffirming U.S. Commitment to Displaced Men, Women, and Children

Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced resolutions in honor of World Refugee Day. These resolutions shine a light on the challenges – often life threatening – that refugees and displaced individuals face every day, and urge Congress to reaffirm the bipartisan commitment of the United States to promoting the health, safety, and well-being of the 65.6 million individuals fleeing persecution, conflict, and human rights violations around the world. Women’s Refugee Commission applauds these lawmakers for acknowledging the courage, strength, and determination of women, men, and children forced to flee their homes due to conflict, violence, and persecution, and for recognizing the vital benefits provided by the United States refugee resettlement program to millions of vulnerable individuals.

The resolutions underscore the urgency of addressing the global refugee crisis. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 2016 Global Trends Report, which is also cited by the resolutions:

(1) There are more than 65,600,000 displaced people worldwide, the highest level ever recorded. This includes 22,500,000 refugees, 40,300,000 internally displaced people, and 2,800,000 people seeking asylum;

(2) 49% of refugees in 2016 were women. Children account for 51% of the overall refugee population. These children are extremely vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, and millions of them are unable to access basic services, including education;

(3) 10,300,000 people were newly displaced due to conflict or persecution in 2016; 20 people are newly displaced every minute;

(4) More than 5,500,000 refugees have fled Syria since the start of the conflict, and more than 6,300,000 people are displaced inside Syria;

(5) Nearly 1,8000,000 people were displaced inside Afghanistan in 2016. As in 2015, Afghanistan was the country of origin with the most asylum-seekers, rising from 259,000 in 2015 to 369,000 in 2016;

(6) South Sudan has the fastest growing refugee population in the world, growing by 6% during the second half of 2016 to 1,400,000. Two thirds of all refugees from South Sudan are children;

(7) UNHCR estimates that 10,00,000 individuals around the world are stateless, having no country of nationality;

(8) Increasing violence in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras has led to a growing number of unaccompanied child refugees, who are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence, human trafficking, and kidnapping;

(9) Ongoing conflict, violence, and persecution have resulted in the displacement of millions in Ukraine, Yemen, Colombia, and the Central African Republic.