The Refugee Project is a narrative, temporal map of refugee migrations since 1975. We’ve used UN data to visualize refugee volumes over time and added a layer of historical content to help explain the events that caused some of the largest refugee movements of the last four decades.

Under international law, the United Nations is responsible for protecting asylum seekers around the world. Through the offices of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and a separate agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), the UN counts and tracks millions of displaced people as part of its larger task of safeguarding their lives and rights. In late 2013, there are over 15 million refugees registered with the UN all over the globe.

The UNHCR’s mandate is to try to assist all stateless and displaced people, not just “refugees” as defined under international law. But this project is limited to the relatively hard numbers of legal, registered refugees under the protection of the UNHCR. In order to qualify for that protection, an individual must be outside the boundaries of his or her country of nationality, “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

More about the project here.