United Nations: Refugee displacement at seven-decade high

UNHCR Chief Visits Refugees In South Sudan

Devastating conflicts, violence and persecution in places like Syria and South Sudan left a record 65.6 million people uprooted from their homes by the end of 2016, the United Nations said Monday. It is followed by Colombia and Afghanistan, which are responsible for 7.7 million and 4.7 million displaced persons, respectively.

The report tracked three types of movement: refugees, internal displacement and asylum-seekers.

This is "the highest figure since we started recording these figures", UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi told reporters ahead of the report launch. He called the figures a failure of diplomacy, reports BBC News.

While the UNHCR's annual count marked a new high, the flow slowed for the first time in several years in 2016.

"By any measure this is an unacceptable number, and it speaks louder than ever to the need for solidarity and common goal 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", said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

Of that figure, one in every three people, roughly 4.9 million people, were hosted by the least developed countries.

Syria continued to have the largest forcibly displaced population - 12 million - including 5.5 million refugees, 6.3 million internally displaced people and 185,000 asylum seekers.

- Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees (2.9 million) followed by Pakistan (1.4 mln) and Lebanon (1 mln).

Particularly heartbreaking is the plight of children, who make up half the world's refugees, and continue to bear a disproportionate burden of the suffering, mainly due to their heightened vulnerability.

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In 2016, the conflict in South Sudan became the fastest-growing displacement of people in the world.

Canada announced an additional contribution of $86 million to assist starvation and war ravaged South Sudan.

The total refugee population - people who fled their home countries - was about 22.5 million people, and almost half of those were children.

In the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year, Canada's worldwide development assistance to South Sudan totalled over $91 million, Global Affairs said.

"We have to do better for these people".

"The global neglect that you see here is matched nowhere else in the world", Grandi told The Associated Press on Sunday while visiting South Sudan's largest internally displaced camp in the town of Bentiu.

The report also supplied data on host countries, revealing that Turkey hosted the most refugees in 2016, with almost three million fleeing to Turkey for safety.

The report notes that most refugees - 84 percent - are in developing countries, half of them children. Held every year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee. "We need to work toward peace and pave the way for a conflict-free South Sudan".

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