Much of the recent increase in displaced persons, including refugees and asylum seekers, is because of the continuing war in Syria, conflict in South Sudan and the flight of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. Refugees and asylum seekers have also fled from conflicts in Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Eritrea and Burundi. 

The countries producing the highest numbers of refugees are located in developing regions. Many of these countries have been the most common countries of origin for refugees for at least 5 years. Afghanistan has been one of the major countries of origin for over 35 years.

Refugees from only five countries make up 68 per cent of the 19.9 million refugees registered with the UNHCR (2017).

In 2017, 1.7 million people became newly displaced. There were 1.9 million individual applications for asylum submitted in 2017, mostly by protection seekers from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Venezuela, Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Nigeria, Eritrea, Guatemala, Iran and Honduras. This figure does not include mass influxes or those recognised as refugees on a group basis, such as the Syrian refugees given temporary protection in Turkey.

Click on links below for profiles on key countries of origin:



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Last updated 10 July 2018.