Record 65.6 mn people displaced worldwide, says UN

A UN peacekeeper keeps watch as children gather in a camp for displaced civilians in Juba South Sudan

About 12 million Syrians, or some 65 percent of the country's population, are displaced internally or live outside of the country as refugees, the most worldwide.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has revealed that number of people displaced from their homes across the world due to war and persecution has climbed to a record 65.6 million past year. Last year, around half a million refugees went back to their countries, while 6.5 million internally displaced people returned.

The UNHCR reports that one in every 113 people worldwide is either a refugee or is forcibly displaced within his or her own country.

Afghanistan has the second largest number of refugees: Around two and a half million Afghans have fled their home and are seeking refuge in other countries.

"The global neglect that you see here is matched nowhere else in the world", Grandi told The Associated Press on Sunday while visiting South Sudan's largest internally displaced camp in the town of Bentiu.

Third is asylum seekers, people who have fled their country and are seeking worldwide protection as refugees.

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.

Despite the decrease, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has termed it as a "disappointing failure" of the UN legateship. While civil conflicts have driven many Somalis out, there have also been desperate conditions such as famines and droughts that have forced people to leave the country.

Worldwide there are an estimated 65.3 million people displaced: 21.3 million refugees, 40.8 million internally displaced people (people who have left their home but have not crossed an global border) and 3.2 million asylum seekers.


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.

The UN refugee chief meanwhile voiced most alarm over the rapidly deteriorating situation in South Sudan, which he said was now the world's "fastest growing refugee crisis and displacement crisis".

About 84 per cent of the people were in low- or middle-income countries as of end 2016.

He noted that the United States was the largest donor to refugee programs and that Washington had contributed $1.5 billion to UNHCR past year.

Particularly heartbreaking is the plight of children, who make up half the world's refugees, and continue to bear a disproportionate burden of the suffering, mainly due to their heightened vulnerability.

The UNHCR found that the number of forcibly displaced people has risen from 33.9 million in 1997 to 65.6 million in 2016.

"We have to do better for these people".

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the additional funding today on trip to the country where millions have been displaced by a civil war.

"Tragically, 75,000 asylum claims were received from children travelling alone or separated from their parent".

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