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A Global Crisis: The plight of refugees by the numbers

We explain the plight of refugees around the world through statistics and infographics.

2018 was one of the worst years on record for forced displacement. From Myanmar, to Syria and Sudan, millions became refugees after they were displaced due to variety of reasons including civil conflict, government crackdowns and climate change.

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Around the world, 70.8 million people were forcibly displaced in 2018; which meant on average, every two seconds, someone had to leave their home and life behind.

Among asylum seekers, the top reasons included religious, racial and political and other forms of persecution; as well as war; hunger; and because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.


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Where do asylum seekers come from? All around the world: From Venezuela, where 340,712 left their country due to political repression and its high crime rate; to Syria, where 106,092 Syrians are fleeing political and social unrest due to the draconian Bashar al-Assad regime.


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Historically, Hong Kong saw the greatest number of refugees enter during the 1980s from China, as well as Vietnam. These days, their numbers have dwindled due to changing policies regarding refugees.

At 24.55 per cent, the majority of refugees arriving in Hong Kong since 2016 come from Somalia; while 22.73 per cent came from Sri Lanka; and the rest became displaced from regions such as Rwanda, Pakistan and Uganda.


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Hong Kong does not offer asylum; however, the city also cannot send refugees back to countries where their lives or freedoms are being threatened. Despite this loophole, Hong Kong has an acceptance rate of just 0.6 per cent for asylum seekers.


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Hong Kong saw the greatest number of refugee arrivals between 1945 to 1980 due to regional conflicts and crackdowns in China. As of 2018 however, more than 14,000 people are seeking protection in the special administrative region.

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