Prepared by The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR)*
Refugees: Persons who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality and are unable or unwilling, owing to such fear, to avail themselves of the protection of that country.
Asylum-seekers: Persons who, owing to the threat of persecution in their own country, seek refuge with a corresponding legal status within another sovereign state’s territory, each sovereign state having the authority to grant or deny such status.
Internally displaced persons: Persons who are forced by war or threat of persecution to abandon their homes and move to another region within the same country. NOTE: There is much disparity in IDP statistics, testimony to the definitional, demographic, and political complexity of the phenomenon. The International Committee of the Red Cross, for example, refuses to quote a number because it believes the available statistics to be greatly manipulated by governments, non-governmental organizations, and others.
6 of 10 — Number of countries worldwide with the highest number of IDPs, all of them located in Africa (U.S. Committee for Refugees, 2002)
13 — Rajakumar’s age when his father was seized by Sri Lankan government soldiers and caused to disappear, with Rajakumar and his mother then fleeing to New York where he was taken from his mother by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and locked in a New York hotel for over a month (Amnesty International, 2002)
15 — Minutes of time a United States judge could spend on an immigration status hearing if Attorney General Ashcroft’s goal to clear a backlog of hearings is to be met, i.e., 55,000 cases within 180 days (Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, 2002)
64 — Percent of Senegalese refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced persons who are under the age of 18, with 19 percent under the age of 4 (UNHCR, 2002)
70 — Number of racially motivated attacks on asylum-seekers in Glasgow, Scotland, during a six-month period in 2001 (Human Rights Watch and Scottish Refugee Council, 2001)
438 — Number of asylum-seekers rescued by a Norwegian freighter from a sinking Indonesian ferry in Australian waters who were then denied entry by Australia, which now pursues a policy of refusing asylum-seekers who do not reach the Australian mainland (Human Rights Watch, 2001)
500 — Dollars Canada requires all refugees to pay when arriving in Canada (“landing fee”), regardless of their economic status (Canadian Council for Refugees, 2002)
1:585 — Ratio of refugees to total population in the United States compared to equivalent ratio (1:36) in Iran (U.S. Committee for Refugees, 2002; Human Rights Watch, 2002)
925,677 — Number of asylum-seekers worldwide in 2001 (UNHCR, 2002)
2,100,000 — Number of IDPs reported in Colombia in 2000 (U.S. Committee for Refugees, 2002)
4,400,000 — Number of people who have had to flee their homes during the past 17 years of war in southern Sudan (U.S. Committee for Refugees, 2002)
12,065,414 — Number of refugees worldwide in 2001 (UNHCR, 2002)
5,047,960 — Number of IDPs worldwide in 2001 according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR, 2002) (See note under IDP definition below)
21,793,300 — Estimated number of refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced persons worldwide (UNHCR, 2002)
25,000,000 — Number of IDPs worldwide in 2001, according to the Brookings-CUNY Project on IDPs (2002)
303,000,000 — Dollars required by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to carry out programs in Africa during 2002 (UNHCR, 2002)
*First published in The Iowa Review (Volume 32, Number 3) Winter 2002-03. Copyright © 2002 by The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights. For further information on human rights generally, please visit the UICHR web site.