Record 65.6 million people displaced worldwide

UNHCR Chief Visits Refugees In South Sudan

In recent years, about 66 million people, or 1 percent of the world population, have fled their homes.

While people continued to flee in record numbers, the report found that past 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".

By the end of 2016, 40.3 million people were internally displaced - a massive number but better than the 40.8 million figure registered the previous year.

Third is asylum seekers, people who have fled their country and are seeking global protection as refugees.

Turkey was the country hosting the largest number of refugees in the world, with 3.1 million, followed by Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Pakistan.

Eight-year-old unaccompanied minor Issa Aj sits alone in Fufore camp for internally displaced persons in Adamawa State, north-east Nigeria.

In contrast, almost of all of the South Sudanese refugees have sought protection in neighbouring countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan.

However, the total seeking safety across worldwide borders as refugees topped 22.5 million, the highest number seen since UNHCR was founded in 1950 in the aftermath of the Second World War.

But UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said it was still a disheartening failure of worldwide diplomacy.

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In terms of overall displacement, Syria still accounts for the biggest numbers, with 12 million people (65 per cent of the population) displaced internally or living outside the country as refugees.

The internal strife in South Sudan has become the source of the fastest-growing displacement crisis in the world.

In 2016, Australians donated a total of $640,000 to go towards family reunification and foster care for thousands of displaced children who were separated from their families.

He noted that the United States was the largest donor to refugee programs and that Washington had contributed $1.5 billion to UNHCR past year.

He also called for properly protecting and caring for the world's refugees, internally displaced and asylum-seekers - who now number 22.5 million, 40.3 million, and 2.8 million, respectively. Lebanon still has the highest number per capita (one in six people).

"About 2,000 people crossed the border from South Sudan into Uganda each day over the last twelve months".

"The system protecting refugees will collapse if we do not step up our support to countries like Uganda", said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council in a statement. Some 37 countries together accepted 189,300 refugees for resettlement.

The newly-formed WRC convened for the first time in Geneva, Switzerland this week to consider the solutions to the global refugee crisis.

That figure has ballooned by a further half million people since then, the agency said, stressing that most of the refugees have left since the "disastrous breakdown of peace efforts" last July.

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