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Number of refugees in the world increases to 42 million

2009-06-19

Augusto is convinced that his grandchildren will have a better life. He hopes they will live far away from the refugee camp where he’s been living since he fled the war.


Augusto’s story is not unique. He and his family are among the 42 million people in the world that have had to flee their homes, according to the UNHCR. Twenty- six million of them are displaced within their own countries.

World Refugee Day is celebrated each year around the globe to remember the difficult situations these people are enduring and to raise awareness about their plight, with the slogan “Real people, real needs.”

The Jesuit Refugee Service shares stories like the one about Augustus to show the importance of helping refugees.

James Stapleton
Communications Coordinator, Jesuit Refugee Service

What people need in specific circumstances. We’re not very prescriptive, we don’t come in with the answers. We ask people what they need and we trade to help them. We trade to work together to provide the answers.

Stapleton says the plight of refugees is dramatic not only because they have left job, family and friends, but also because they have fled their homes out of fear.  On top of that, governments and members of society have stopped helping them like they used to years ago.

James Stapleton
Communications Coordinator, Jesuit Refugee Service

People think, what can I do. You can do things. The first thing that you can do is stay not of the bland arguments that it put in the media and some of the fear tactics used by governments around the world.

The number of refugees had been on the decrease, but in recent years it has gone on the rise again. Among those countries facing the most difficult situations are Sudan with 5 million displaced people, followed by Colombia with an estimated 4 million, then the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda.

Last year 2 million fewer refugees were able to return to their home countries than the previous year. This is mostly due to the instability and lack of security in Afghanistan and Sudan.

PVB