The global number of refugees and internally displaced people climbed to 68.5 million last year, setting a new high for the fifth year in a row, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday.
The political crisis and fighting in Congo, the war in South Sudan and the mass exodus of the Rohingya minority from Myanmar were major drivers for displacement, according to UNHCR’s annual Global Trends Report.
During 2017, 16.2 million people - or one person every two seconds - were uprooted.
“The notion that is so prevailing in many countries is that the refugee crisis is a crisis of the rich world. It is not,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees.
An estimated 85 per cent of the 68.5 million refugees around the world have sought refuge in poor or middle-income countries, he told a press conference in Geneva ahead of the launch of the report. The biggest host country in 2017 was Turkey, with 3.5 million mostly Syrian refugees. Pakistan, Uganda, Lebanon, Iran and Germany followed in the list of major hosts.
The data showed that nearly 70 per cent of the world’s refugees have fled from just five countries: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia.
The flow of refugees could be slowed down greatly if some of the wars and crises in these countries were solved, Grandi said.
“But we haven’t seen any significant progress in peace-making or peace-building in any of these countries,” he added.
DPA, 19th JUNE, 2018