Aiding Refugees

March 2009 • Volume 3, Issue 3
Should the U.N. help more displaced people?
By John Felton


Cover photo of Somali refugees in Kenya (IRIN/Manoocher Deghati)
Somali refugees wait to be admitted to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. About 42 million people around the world have been uprooted by violence, including more than a million Somalis displaced by a long-running civil war. (IRIN/Manoocher Deghati)

Some 42 million people worldwide have been uprooted by warfare or other violence, including 16 million refugees who are legally protected because they left their home countries. Most live in refugee camps and receive aid from the United Nations or other agencies but cannot work or leave the camps without special permission. Another 26 million people who fled violence are not protected by international treaties because they remained in their home countries. The number of such “internally displaced persons” (IDPs) has risen in the last decade, largely due to wars in Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and Colombia. Millions of IDPs live in harsh conditions, and many receive no aid. Some critics say the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees should do much more for IDPs, but the agency already faces severe budget shortfalls and bleak prospects for more donations from wealthy nations. Meanwhile, scientists warn that the number of people displaced by natural disasters — now about 50 million a year — could rise dramatically in coming years due to climate change.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Refugees and Asylum
Jan. 17, 2020  Global Migration
Jun. 26, 2018  Refugee Crisis
Aug. 16, 2017  Refugees
Jul. 31, 2015  European Migration Crisis
Mar. 2009  Aiding Refugees
Jul. 09, 1999  Global Refugee Crisis
Feb. 07, 1997  Assisting Refugees
Oct. 27, 1989  The Politics of American Refugee Policy
May 30, 1980  Refugee Policy
Aug. 26, 1977  Indochinese Refugees
Apr. 11, 1962  Cuban Refugees
Feb. 25, 1959  Doctrine of Asylum
Jan. 08, 1958  Palestine Arab Refugees
Oct. 12, 1954  Assimilation of Refugees
May 03, 1950  Right of Asylum
Nov. 27, 1946  Immigration of Refugees
Apr. 14, 1938  Resettlement of Refugees