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four young children in warm clothing sitting with an older woman

Refugees and forced displacement

War and conflict, climate and natural disasters as well as economic decline often leaves many vulnerable people and families with no choice but to uproot from their homes, belongings, families and livelihoods, and flee in a desperate bid for survival or for the chance of a better life.

In the past decade, the displacement crisis has become larger and more complex:

103 million

 people were forcibly displaced worldwide as of mid-2022

53.2 million

are internally displaced peoples (IDPs)

32.5 million

people are living as refugees

4.9 million

are seeking asylum


of refugees are hosted by low and middle income countries, with nearly 70% of these in neighbouring countries


of all forcibly displaced people are children

350,000 - 400,000

children are born as refugees each year

Our Commitment to Refugees and Forcibly Displaced People

Islamic Relief believes that all those seeking refuge from war, persecution, discrimination, and climate change disasters or hazards have the right to seek asylum. We call on governments to recognise and uphold their shared international obligations to protect asylum seekers, refugees, stateless people and IDPs. It is essential that:

  1. Global funding for refugee protection and basic needs is increased, with states, particularly wealthy countries, providing adequate funding for refugee emergencies and paying their fair share
  2. Refugees receive adequate legal protection, and access to necessities such as shelter, food, water, sanitation, and medical care. Protection responses should be gender responsive particularly for women, children and older people 
  3. Governments around the world enact legislation upholding refugee rights and enabling refugees to access services and employment
  4. States commit to resettling larger numbers of refugees equitably, ensuring all refugees are seen as equal to others

Our Work On the Ground

Since 1984, Islamic Relief has been working in over 40 countries to ensure that the needs of refugees and other forcibly displaced people are met. In the aftermath of conflict and disasters, we have been there long after our emergency response and development work, helping to rebuild lives and livelihoods.

Our work in the UK

We work with a number of UK partners supporting refugees and asylum seekers to access services that help ensure their safety, security and growth. 

Wealthier countries, like the UK, can and must do more to fulfil their international responsibilities. It is critical that the UK commits to resettling larger numbers of refugees by expanding safe and legal routes to resettlement, and developing a more humane and just asylum system that supports asylum seekers to rebuild their lives safely in the UK. One simple way the UK government can do this is by reforming unfair rules that keep refugee families apart.

Refugee Family Reunion

The UK’s current refugee and asylum policy is lacking in basic compassion and humanity. Many refugee families, having been torn apart by war and conflict, are unable to reunite with their loved ones once they arrive in the UK. Even child refugees who arrive alone in the UK are not allowed to reunite with family members, not even their parents.

We are proud to work with the Families Together Coalition to call on the UK government to put family at the heart of their refugee and asylum policy and reunite families by:

  1. Ensuring all refugees are entitled to reunite with their close family, regardless of how they arrive, where they arrive from, or their age
  2. Reuniting children with their parents by allowing child refugees to sponsor their close family to join them
  3. Expanding the definition of who qualifies as family so that sick and elderly parents who depend on family in the UK can live in safety with them
  4. Bringing back legal aid for refugees so they have the expert support they need to navigate the complicated process of being reunited with their families

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