On World Refugee Day, In Defense of Christians (IDC), the nation’s leading advocacy organization for Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East, calls on the U.S. government and the international community to take further steps towards solving the global refugees crisis and protecting the basic human rights of all refugees and IDPs around the world.

There are approximately 68.5 million displaced persons in the world today as per the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR’s recent Global Trend Report.

The 68.5 million people were displaced as of the end of 2017. Among them were 16.2 million people who became displaced during 2017 itself, either for the first time or repeatedly – indicating a huge number of people on the move and equivalent to 44,500 people being displaced each day, or a person becoming displaced every two seconds“, according to the report.

“This number (68.5 millions), actually comprises one percent of the global population”, highlights IDC Executive Director Philippe Nassif. “The United States and the international community need to appreciate that addressing the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons is a matter of national security. By helping these individuals now, we will ensure that they don’t fall victim to poverty or crime, and that we don’t lose a generation of people globally.”

Since the Rise of ISIS in July of 2014, hundreds of thousands of Christians from Syria and Iraq left their homes to neighboring countries like Lebanon and Jordan, while many of them remain internally displaced in Northern Iraq. In Iraq, over two thirds of the 1.5 million Christian population have fled their homes since 2014.

One third of the world’s refugees are from Syria, fleeing the brutal civil war. Neighboring Lebanon hosts 1.5 million Syrian refugees – the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. With an aging infrastructure, a weak economy, and high unemployment, Lebanon is on the brink of an economic collapse due to the refugee crisis.

Refugees who have fled their countries to escape conflict and persecution accounted for 25.4 million of the 68.5 million. This is 2.9 million more than in 2016, also the biggest increase UNHCR has seen in a single year. Asylum-seekers, who were still awaiting the outcome of their claims to refugee status as of 31 December 2017, meanwhile rose by around 300,000 to 3.1 million. People displaced inside their own country accounted for 40 million of the total, slightly fewer than the 40.3 million in 2016“, the UNHCR’s Global Trends Report adds.

“IDC has been at the forefront of supporting Christian and Yazidi refugees wanting to return home to Iraq, advocating for U.S. support for Lebanon and proposing solutions to the Syrian refugee crisis, such as the creation of safe zones, which would allow millions of Syrian refugees to return home safely”, adds Nassif.

IDC will continue to advocate for their safe return and property rights, and for rebuilding their homes and communities.

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