Seven must-read stories this World Refugee Day

While people continued to flee in record numbers, the report found that previous year around one half million refugees returned home and about 6.5 million internally displaced people went back to their places of origin although "many did so in less than ideal circumstances and facing uncertain prospects".

The world broke a grim record past year, with 65.6 million people living forcibly displaced from their homes, an increase of 300,000 over 2015.

Of the total, some 10.3 million people were newly displaced in 2016, around two-thirds fleeing within their own countries, according to an annual report by the group.

South Sudan's civil war, which began in December 2013, has left tens of thousands dead and forced a total of 3.7 million people from their homes - almost a third of the population. On average, 20 people were driven from their homes every minute past year, or one every three seconds - less than the time it takes to read this sentence.

The number of people forcibly displaced from their homes is the highest since World War II.

The record number includes 22.5 million refugees, 40.3 million internally displaced people and 2.8 million asylum seekers.

Syria's six-year conflict alone has sent more than 5.5 million people seeking safety in other countries, including 825,000 last year alone, making it the world's biggest producer of refugees.

â€When we stand together with refugees, we also stand for respect and diversity for all, ” says UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

It said war, violence and persecution worldwide were causing more people to be forcibly displaced now than ever before.

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.

While Grandi said ensuring people were safe was important, he warned against setting up "kingdoms of dependency" like the sprawling camps for Somali refugees in Dadaab in northern Kenya that have become permanent settlements. It is followed by Colombia and Afghanistan, which are responsible for 7.7 million and 4.7 million displaced persons, respectively.

This was announced by the Agency for refugees of the United Nations. Turkey has taken in the largest number of Syrians with a total of 2.9 million at the end of 2015. The order and four-month hiatus on accepting new refugees devastated the network of refugee resettlement agencies, where hundreds of jobs have been cut since the President's executive order. South Sudan, with a little over a quarter, has the next-biggest proportion - and fastest growing displaced population overall, the agency said.

Children make up half the world's refugees.

People around the world were forced to leave their homes in record numbers in 2016. "But fear and exclusion will not lead us to a better place - they can only lead to barriers, alienation and despair", he stressed.

Indeed, Uganda is now Africa's leading refugee-hosting country, having jumped from the eighth largest refugee-hosting country in the world in mid-2016 to the third largest today, after Turkey and Pakistan.

  • Leroy Wright