UN Refugee agency: Record 65.6 million people displaced worldwide

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A record 65.6 million people are either refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced across the globe, the UN refugee agency said.

The estimated figure for the end of 2016 is an increase of 300,000 on 2015, according to its annual report.

It is a smaller increase than 2014-15, when the figure rose by five million.

But the UN high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi said it was still a disheartening failure of international diplomacy.

“The world seems to have become unable to make peace,” Mr Grandi said.

“So you will see old conflicts that continue to linger, and new conflicts erupting, and both produce displacement… forced displacement is a symbol for wars that never end.”

A South Sudanese refugee child stands at the UNHCR camp of al-Algaya in SudanImage copyrightAFP
Image captionMore than 95,000 South Sudanese people have entered Sudan this year, the UN has said

Mr Grandi also warned of the burden being placed on many of the world’s poorest states, as some 84% of the world’s displaced people are living in poor and middle income countries.

“How am I to ask countries with far less resources, in Africa, in the Middle East, in Asia, to take millions of refugees if the richer countries are refusing to do so?” he said.

The UN said it hoped Monday’s record breaking numbers of displaced would encourage wealthy countries to think again: not just to accept more refugees, but to invest in peace promotion, and reconstruction.

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