Global displacement hits record high due to war, persecution

Marsha Scott
June 20, 2017

In total, about 3.3 million South Sudanese had fled their homes by the end of the year, in what has become the fastest-growing displacement of people in the world.

A record 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide by the end of 2016, reports the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) - a number higher than the U.K.'s entire population.

Syria alone has sent more than 5.5 million people seeking safety in other countries, including 825,000 just a year ago, making it the world's biggest producer of refugees. "This equates to one person becoming displaced every three seconds", the report said, "less than the time it takes to read this sentence".

UNHCR also sounded an alarm over another rapidly escalating crisis in Democratic Republic of Congo, where over 1 million people have been displaced internally and over 30,000 terms have crossed into Angola since August.

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

"Look around us here today, in South Sudan, when you ask them "why are you not in your homes, why have you been away from your homes?' the first word that will always come is 'fear", UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said during a weekend visit to the site.

However, in 2016 the biggest new factor was South Sudan, where the disastrous break-off of peace efforts in July contributed to an outflow of 737,400 people by the end of the year.

Wealthy nations are failing to meet their obligation to support refugees fleeing civil war, the rights group said in a report ahead of a high-level donor summit this week in Kampala that aims to raise $8 billion over the next four years. The conflict in Syria was the world's biggest producer of refugees (5.5 million).

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The report shows more than 10 million were newly displaced past year.

The Arab states of the Gulf Cooperation Council in the middle east: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman have accepted no refugees.

"Only the silencing of weapons can alleviate the humanitarian crisis that is now affecting close to half of South Sudan's population", Bibeau said in a statement.

It is a smaller increase than 2014-15, when the figure rose by five million, reports the BBC.

Global Trends is a statistical assessment of forced displacement, and as such a number of key developments in the refugee world in 2016 are not captured.

At the end of 2016, there were about 40.3 million internally displaced people in the world, down slightly from 40.8 million a year earlier, with Syria, Iraq and Colombia accounting for the greatest numbers. One in 113 people are displaced, compared with around one in 160 a decade ago.

"The world seems to have become unable to make peace", Grandi said.

Tragically, 75,000 asylum claims were received from children travelling alone or separated from their parents, among them youngsters like Tareq, 16, who dodged armed combatants to walk out of Syria into neighbouring Turkey.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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