Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Number Of Global Refugees Hits Record High


Most of the world's refugees come from Syria, with 5.5 million forced to flee the country in 2016.

The number of people forced to flee their homes by war and persecution has risen to record levels for the third year running, with 65.6 million people displaced around the world - more than the population of Britain. On average, 20 people were driven from their homes every minute previous year, or one every three seconds - less than the time it takes to read this sentence.

This file photo taken on June 4, 2017 shows a girl resting with other Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) on a mat in the Kasai Province in Kikwit.

This figure includes refugee numbers and people displaced in their own countries.

The number of people displaced by armed conflict or government persecution reached a seven-decade high at the end of 2016, according to the United Nations division responsible for monitoring global refugees.

In South Sudan to launch the UNHCR's annual refugee report, Grandi said his agency had already worked there for decades, helping hundreds of thousands fleeing the territory's long wars with Khartoum. More than half of these come from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan.

More people fled the conflict in Syria - 5.5 million - than any other country, but the biggest new source of refugees was what the report called "the disastrous breakdown of peace efforts" in South Sudan.

- Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees (2.9 million) followed by Pakistan (1.4 mln) and Lebanon (1 mln).

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- The fastest growing refugee population was spurred by the crisis in South Sudan.

The "unprecedented high" reveals that one in every 113 people worldwide is displaced and a person was displaced every three seconds in 2016, half of which were children under age eighteen.

And almost 70 years after Palestinians first fled today's Israel, some 5.3 million Palestinians are now living as refugees - the highest level ever recorded, UNHCR said. Elsewhere, large numbers of refugees fled Burundi (121,700 newly recognised refugees), Iraq (81,900), Eritrea (69,600), Afghanistan (69,500), and Nigeria (64,700).

Monday's report also pointed out that, despite huge focus on Europe's migrant crisis, it is poorer countries that host most of the world's refugees.

- Some 189,300 refugees were accepted for resettlement by 37 countries. "Borders must be kept open, but we can not expect a country like Uganda to shoulder the entire bill", said Egeland.

Faced with another year of a record displacement, devastating the lives of millions of men, women and children, one thing is clear: "We have to do better for these people", Grandi said.

Amnesty said only 18 percent of the required funding for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda had been met as of May.

Turkey, for the third consecutive year, has hosted the largest number of refugees worldwide, a new United Nations report has said. At least 75,000 asylum claims were received from an unaccompanied child.

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