Number Of Global Refugees Hits Record High

UNHCR head UNHCR Filippo Grandi visits a UN protection site in Juba on Saturday 17 June 2017

A record 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced across the world and the global refugee population was also the highest on record - 22.5 million - at the end of 2016, according to the agency. It is followed by Colombia and Afghanistan, which are responsible for 7.7 million and 4.7 million displaced persons, respectively. "But, Lebanon, another one of the neighboring countries, is the country that has the highest per capita ratio compared to the local population in terms of the number of refugees".

While the UNHCR's annual count marked a new high, the flow slowed for the first time in several years in 2016.

"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".

The UNHCR also estimated that at least 10 million people were stateless or at risk of statelessness in 2016.

Iraq has the fourth-highest displaced population with 4.2 million, followed by South Sudan with 3.3 million.

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Syria is the only country in which a majority of the population is forcibly displaced.

Just 36 hours after crossing the border by a simple wooden plank bridge, refugees are given a small plot of land and the materials they need to start growing their own food.

Ten of thousands of people have been killed and over two million displaced since violence broke out in the South Sudan capital, Juba in mid-December 2013.

South Sudan turned into the third-biggest source of refugees overseas past year, behind Syria (5.5 million) and Afghanistan (2.5 million).

In the shadow of the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq, conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and South Sudan forced millions of people to flee their homes. Syria, Iraq, and the still very significant displacement inside Colombia were the biggest internal displacement situations, nonetheless the problem of internal displacement is a worldwide one and accounts for nearly two thirds of the global forced displacement total.

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Until 2012, the global displacement number had for years remained relatively stable at around 40 million people, but "we now seem to be landing on a new horrific normal", he told AFP.

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

Of the 10.3 million people displaced past year, 189,300 refugees were resettled in third countries, half a million returned to their home countries and 6.5 million people who were displaced internally within their own countries were able to return home.

This huge imbalance reflects several things including the lack of consensus internationally when it comes to hosting refugees, and the proximity of many poor countries to regions of conflict.

The new total of 65.6 million people displaced from their homes is 300,000 higher than the 2015 number, which had been the highest since World War II.

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By the end of 2016, 3.3 million people from the world's newest country had fled their homes, more than half to neighbouring countries. "Now, the authorities have a greater responsibility because they are in charge of this country and it is under their leadership that we must seek security", Grandi said. "For a world in conflict‚ what is needed is determination and courage‚ not fear".

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