Record 65 million people displaced in 2016

Record 65 million people displaced in 2016

The number of people displaced from their homes across the world climbed slightly to 65.6 million past year, with the escalating conflict in South Sudan accounting for the rise, the United Nations refugee agency said Monday.

The head of the U.N.'s UNHCR refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, said world powers had to step up pressure on South Sudan's warring parties to go back to talks on ending a civil war that has forced about a third of the population to flee.

"By any measure this is an unacceptable number, and it speaks louder than ever to the need for solidarity and common goal in preventing and resolving crises, and ensuring together that the world's refugees, internally displaced and asylum seekers are properly protected and cared for while solutions are pursued", said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

This adds up to an enormous human cost of war and persecution globally: 65.6 million means that on average one in every 113 people worldwide is today someone who is displaced - a population bigger than that of the world's 21st most populous country, the United Kingdom.

During previous year, 10.3 million people were newly displaced by conflict or persecution, creating 20 new displacements worldwide every minute.

The record number includes 22.5 million refugees, 40.3 million internally displaced people and 2.8 million asylum seekers.

Syria's six-year civil war remained the largest single source of displacement, with 12 million people. Around half a million other refugees were able to return to their home countries, and about 6.5 million internally displaced people to their areas of origin - although many did so in less than ideal circumstances and facing uncertain prospects. Uganda now hosts over 900,000 South Sudanese refugees, the U.N refugee agency (UNHCR) said.

Grandi said the global community had become frustrated with the way peace was moving, adding that this was the time when aid needed to be increased.

The Syrian conflict, which has killed more than 320,000 people, "is becoming a forgotten crisis", he warned.

Syria and South Sudan were far from the only countries where people were being uprooted en masse, with Monday's report also pointing to large-scale displacement in Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan, just to name a few.

- Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees (2.9 million) followed by Pakistan (1.4 mln) and Lebanon (1 mln). The country allows refugees to work and travel freely, access Ugandan social services and gives them a plot of land to live on, and another to farm.

- Children under 18 make up just over half the refugee population.

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.

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