KENYA: There are More Refugees on Earth than Ever Before, UN Report Shows

NAIROBI JUNE 21, 2016(CISA) – A new UN report has revealed that there are now more refugees on the Earth than ever before in human history.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that by the end of last year 2015 65.3 million people – equal to the population of France – had been forced from their homes by poverty, war or persecution.

The UNHCR annual Global Trends report, published June 20 on the World Refugees Day says that one person in every 113 is a refugee, in “a level of risk for which UNHCR knows no precedent.” With continuing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Palestine, the Mena region accounts for more displacement than any other region.

“This is the first time the world’s refugee population has exceeded 60 million, and it is a sharp rise of almost 10 per cent over the 59.5 million in 2014.If refugees were the citizens of a single country, it would be the 21st largest nation in the world,” the report says.

The rate at which the problem was increasing was almost incomprehensible, said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “Every minute 24 people flee their homes,” Mr Grandi said.

“This is a striking, striking figure.” The report states that there were 98,400 asylum requests from children who were alone, the largest number recorded by UNHCR and a tragic reflection of how global forced displacement is disproportionately affecting young lives.”

“It has always been dangerous to be a refugee, but these days those risks have increased,” said Mr Grandi. “Think of the refugees that have to cross thousands of kilometers of desert in hardship with a lot of people threatening them. Think of women that face exploitation in order to reach places of safety.”

The UNHCR classifies as refugees the record 40.8 million people who have fled their homes but who remain in their own countries, the 21.3 million who have sought sanctuary abroad and the 3.2 million looking for asylum in industrialised nations.

Countries with the largest amount of refugees who fled abroad included Syria (4.9 million), Afghanistan (2.7 million) and Somalia (1.1 million).

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