Violence, persecution uprooted record 65.6 m people in 2016: UN

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UNITED NATIONS, June 19 (APP): Nearly 66 million people were
forcibly displaced from their homes last year, the United Nation
refugee agency reported on Monday, while stressing the “very high”
pace at which conflict and persecution is forcing people to flee
their homes.
The figure equates to “one person displaced every three seconds
– less than the time it takes to read this sentence.”
The report Global Trends, released by the Office of the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), marks a jump of 300,000 since the
end of 2015.
“By any measure this is an unacceptable number,” UN High
Commissioner Filippo Grandi said, urging “solidarity and a common
purpose in preventing and resolving crisis.”
He also called for properly protecting and caring for the
world’s refugees, internally displaced and asylum-seekers, who
currently number 22.5 million, 40.3 million, and 2.8 million,
respectively.
According to the report, Syria remains “the world’s biggest
producer of refugees” with 12 million people living in neighbouring countries and away from the region. There are 7.7 million displaced Colombians, 4.7 million Afghans and 4.2 million Iraqis.
However, in 2016, South Sudan became “the biggest new factor”
when peace efforts broke down in July resulting in some 737,400
people fleeing by the end of the year.
About half of the refugee population last year were children
younger than 18 years of age, according the report. This is in
contrast to the fact that children make up only about 31 per cent
of the total world population.
Among its findings, the report noted that some 75,000 asylum
claims were received from children travelling alone or separated
from their parents.
Developing countries are hosting the majority of the world’s
refugees, UNHCR pointed out.
About 84 per cent of the people were in low- or middle-income
countries as of end 2016. Of that figure, one in every three people,
roughly 4.9 million people, were hosted by the least developed
countries.
“This huge imbalance reflects several things including the
continuing lack of consensus internationally when it comes to
refugee hosting and the proximity of many poor countries to regions
of conflict,” the UN agency said.
In addition, the figure “illustrates the need for countries and
communities supporting refugees and other displaced people to be
robustly resourced and supported,” the UNHCR said, warning that
the absence could create instability in the host countries.
The report was released on the eve of World Refugee Day,
marked annually on June 20.