Number of refugees - 68 million - hits five-year high, United Nations says

Lester Mason
June 20, 2018

The annual Global Trends report from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees shows 68.5 million people fled their home countries due to wars, violence and persecution in 2017.

A new report from the United Nations Refugee Agency shows 2017 broke global records for displaced persons, with Canada becoming the ninth-largest recipient of asylum seekers in the world. That is an average of one person displaced every two seconds, the report stated.

Grandi said 14 of the 193 United Nations member states who supported the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants are already pioneering a new blueprint on their own for responding to refugee crises and later this year a new "Global Compact on Refugees" will be released for state members to adopt. In all, 63 per cent of all refugees under UNHCR's responsibility were in just 10 countries.

"This is because of protracted conflicts and lack of solutions for those conflicts that continue, continuous pressure on civilians in countries of conflict that pushed them to leave their homes and new or aggravating crises, like the Rohingya crisis".

To illustrate the mammoth number of people on the move, the UNHCR said the latest trends suggested that on average past year, a person became displaced every two seconds.

"The flight of refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh occurred at a particularly rapid rate".

Nai Jit Lam is calling on the global community to step in and provide safety to the growing number of displaced people around the world.

By the end of 2017, there were some 40 million IDPs worldwide, down slightly from previous years, with Colombia, Syria and Democratic Republic of Congo accounting for the greatest numbers.

That is almost 3 million more than in 2016, and "the highest known total to date", it said.

Another 6.2 million Syrians are internally displaced.

"The situations in the DRC and Myanmar deteriorated rapidly in the second half of 2017, affecting millions of people".

In this November 29, 2015 photo, an internally displaced girl peeks from a tent after her family left their village in Rodat district of Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

The agency said it hopes its new blueprint for addressing refugee crises, the Global Compact on Refugees, will help the worldwide community cooperate more closely when responding to the issue. Germany received the second-most.

But the number of refugees who fled their home countries rose for the sixth straight year, increasing by 2.9 million in 2017 - the biggest increase the UNHCR has ever recorded in a single year.

Canada, despite its much smaller population, resettled nearly 27,000 refugees a year ago, almost as many as the United States.

Tuesday's report also highlighted large-scale displacements in Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and DR Congo among others. It receives refugees and protects them, he said.

The vast majority of them are descendants of people who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 war that accompanied Israel's creation. Pakistan came second with 1.4 million, followed by Uganda with 1.4 million and Lebanon with almost a million.

A family, claiming to be from Columbia, is arrested by RCMP officers as they cross the border into Canada from the United States as asylum seekers on April 18, 2018 near Champlain, NY.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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