On World Refugee Day, UN Reports Increase in Refugees

Some 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide at the end of 2016, 300,000 more than the previous year, according to the U.N.'s refugee agency.

Of the 65.6 million people forcibly displaced globally, 10.3 million became displaced a year ago, about two-thirds of them (6.9 million) fleeing within their own countries.

Among the refugees, asylum seekers - people who have fled their country and are seeking global protection - totaled 2.8 million by the end of 2016.

Syrian civil war that is in sixth year with no signs of cessation of hostilities continues to force people out of their homes and country with 12 million Syrian refugees scattered across countries and continents.

Out of the 65.6 million worldwide total, 22.5 million are refugees, 40.3 million are internally displaced and 2.8 million are asylum seekers.

To put the numbers into context, in 2016 one person became displaced every three seconds. 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.

Leaving aside the long-standing Palestinian refugee situation, Colombians (7.7 million) and Afghans (4.7 million) remained the second- and third-largest displaced populations, followed by Iraqis (4.2 million).

High Commissioner Grandi said that one of his greatest concerns was the declining contributions of the global community to meet the needs of this burgeoning refugee and displacement crisis.

"About 2,000 people crossed the border from South Sudan into Uganda each day over the last twelve months".

The crisis in Syria had caused other emergencies, such as South Sudan's civil war, to be overshadowed, said the report.

Most of the refugees are women and children, the reason UNICEF is calling the refugee influx "a children's crisis".

UNHCR High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (L) and David Shearer, Special Representative for South Sudan, listen to displaced people at a camp in Juba, South Sudan June 17, 2017.

And that number has ballooned by a further half million people since then, the agency said, stressing the most of the refugees had left since the "disastrous breakdown of peace efforts" last July.

"Ethiopia is a very good model of how a country with a limited resources and a great challenge of its own keeps its doors open, its arms open to people from neighboring countries that are in trouble and seek protection here", Grandi asserted. "For a world in conflict, what is needed is determination and courage, not fear".

There are also more than 375,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan states as well as in southeast Myanmar, according to the spokesperson.

"More than one million children have been forced from their homes in South Sudan, often amid horrific violence", said UNICEF's Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Leila Pakkala.

Uganda's government and the United Nations are appealing for $8 billion to deal with the crisis of refugees from South Sudan.

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  • Leroy Wright