Life made them refugees, set adrift with the little they possess on their backs. These are the stories of those who can finally go home, as well as those who find new ones, sometimes permanent, and sometimes, in the most unexpected of places.*
Pakistanis that were internally displaced by the fighting in the border areas with Afghanistan, head home to the Swat Valley, one of the most beautiful places in the country.
Left: Home to the Swat Valley
In Pakistan, close to 1.9 million have been internally displaced. Another 1.1 million have started going home.
Credit: UNHCR/H Caux
*Unless otherwise stated, all figures in “Where do I belong?” have been sourced from latest UNHCR reports.
No Home to Call Their Own
The State of Asia's Refugees
Sopha Lay de Montero fled the capital Phnom Penh with his family and lived in a Vietnamese refugee camp for 35 years. He received his Vietnamese citizenship this year along with 2,3000 others. His new name is Hoang Phuci.
In 1975, the Khmer Rouge swept to power in Cambodia and began a genocide that would kill close to 2 million.
Credit: UNHCR/ S. Vu Anh
Japan becomes the first Asian country to take in resettled refugees. Over the next three years, it will receive 90 in all.
The first batch arrived at Tokyo's Narita Airport in late-September. All were ethnic Karen who fled Myanmar. Almost all their children had all been born at a refugee camp in Northern Thailand.
Credit: UNHCR/S Miyazawa
Ganga shows her newly-resettled Bhutanese family how to use ticket for the New York subway system.
Of the nine countries that take in resettled refugees, the United States received the largest number in 2009, 79,937 in all.
Credit: UNHCR/ Kashish Das Shrestha
Yuva Beats is a band of Afghan refugees in India. Started by Khalid, himself a Kabul native to who fled to the Indian capital this year, it provides an outlet of expression for the refugees.
They play a mixture of Hindi, English, Farsi and Dari songs.
Credit: UNHCR/N Bose
Victims return to the homes set ablaze during June's clashes in Kyrgyzstan. Often they were robbed of all their possessions and cash which they tended to keep in safes instead of the banks.
Kyrgyzstan's second city Osh is still in ruins.
Credit: UNHCR/ S Schulman
More than 600 Uzbeks and Kyrgyzs gather at a local mosque in southern Kyrgyzstan to attempt to reconcile their two communities.
The republics of Central Asia were wrought by ethnic conflicts after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.
Credit: UNHCR/ I Clobanu
Around 400,000 fled the fighting in Kyrgyzstan. Till now, 75,000 remain internally displaced.
A 60-year-old grandmother used the wheat and food she set aside for her son's wedding to feed hundreds seeking refuge in her village from the fighting in southern Kyrgyzstan.
She also hosted the the refugees in her own home and garden.
The US-led invasion of Iraq has left 1.5 million internally displaced. This is a settlement for such people close to Baghdad.
Another 1.1 million Iraqi refugees are in neighbouring Syria. They form the biggest refugee population in the world. Another 500,000 Iraqi refugees are in Jordan.
Credit: UNHCR/ B Heger
Afghan refugees have begun returning home from UNHCR voluntary repatriation camps in Pakistan.
The agency estimates that close to 2.9 million Afghans have been displaced or made refugees by the unrest at home.
Credit: UNHCR/ R Ali
A returnee begins to rebuild his home in eastern Afghanistan.
While their lives have been affected by the US-led invasion , Afghans may not always understand why it happened.
The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) policy think-tank reported that 92% of 1,000 Afghan men surveyed in Helmand and Kandahar know nothing of the hijacked airliner attacks on U.S. targets in 2001.
Credit: UNHCR/M Maguire
A Pashtun refugee returns to northern Afghanistan from Pakistan to still-desperate conditions.
British charity Oxfam counts 2010 as the deadliest year for Afghan civilians since the US-led invasion in 2001. Security is deteriorating across the country. Civilian casualties rose 31 percent in the first six months alone.
According to a recent UN poll of Iraqi refugees who returned home between 2007 and 2008, 61 per cent said they regretted the move. The most-often cited reasons were insecurity and personal safety concerns.
Credit: UNHCR/ R Arnold
Internally displaced Afghan women in a UNHCR camp.
There are about 8.8 million refugees in the world. Half of them live right here with us in Asia.
Credit: UNHCR/C Shirley
More comprehensive coverage at “The State of Asia's Refugees”