2016 Refugee population hits 65.6 million

Dzaleka refugee camp

The number of people displaced reached a record high of 65.6 million by the end of 2016, according to a report released by the UN Refugee Agency.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) new Global Trends report was released on Monday, a day before the commemoration of World Refugee Day.

The report has revealed that 65.6 million is the highest in a decade and is 300,000 higher than the number of refugees recorded in 2015.

Threats to right to life like wars, violence and persecution have been noted by UNHCR to be the leading factors forcing people to leave their countries.

Dzaleka refugee camp
Refugees from Mzoambique at Malawi’s Dzaleka camp.

The refugee agency says in a press release that  the figure 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.

UN High Commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi says the number points at challenges affecting peace for human stay in some parts of the World.

“By any a measure this is unacceptable” says Grandi. “It speaks louder than ever to the need for solidarity and common purpose 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 report calls on the need for many people to be given protection in the places where they are staying for peace as they are forced to leave their lands.

The total figure includes 40.3 million people uprooted within the borders of their own countries, about 500,000 fewer than in 2015. Meanwhile, the total number seeking asylum globally was 2.8 million, about 400,000 fewer than in the previous year.

“Syria’s conflict remains the world’s biggest producer of refugees (5.5 million), however in 2016 the biggest new factor was South Sudan where the disastrous breakdown of peace efforts in July of that year contributed to the outflow of 739,900 people by year’s end (1.87 million today),” UNHCR said.

Malawi, which was last year said to be hosting 25,000 refugees, today joins other nations in commemorating World Refugee Day at Dzaleka Camp.



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