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2008 Global Trends: Refugees, Asylum-seekers, Returnees, Internally Displaced and Stateless Persons

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Forced population displacement has grown in size and complexity in recent years, and the 2008 Global Trends report reflects many of the major humanitarian developments between January and December 2008. The report analyses the statistical trends and changes in the global populations for whom UNHCR has been entrusted with a responsibility by the United Nations General Assembly. These include refugees, returnees, stateless persons and certain groups of internally displaced persons (IDPs), collectively referred to in this report as «persons of concern». The outbreak, renewal and prolongation of armed conflict had a negative impact on peace, stability and security in many regions of the world during 2008, often resulting in the movement of people within and outside their home countries. While millions were newly displaced during the past year, millions of others were able to return home or found another durable solution. Despite UNHCR’s efforts to find durable solutions during 2008, the total number of refugees and IDPs under its care remained high at roughly 25 million, almost unchanged compared to 2007, and together accounted for about three quarters of all people falling under the UNHCR mandate. Available information suggests there were 42 million forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2008.

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