06/20/2017, 10.42
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UN refugee record hit in 2016: 65.6 million

Today is the World Refugee Day. Data released yesterday by UNHCR. About 40.3 million internally displaced persons; 22.5 Refugees; 2.8 million asylum seekers. Nearly 84% of the burden of hospitality is supported by poor countries, despite the focus on migrant crises in Europe.


Geneva (AsiaNews) - In 2016, there were 65.6 million refugees, including those who abandoned their homes, internally displaced persons and asylum seekers. This is the new grievous record of migration outlined yesterday by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) on the eve of the World Refugee Day. 

Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner for Refugees, said that "this number is unacceptable. More than ever, it expresses the need for solidarity and a common purpose for preventing and resolving crises. "

Pope Francis has spoken several times about the issue of refugees and their reception. On the last occasion, during the Angelus Sunday, June 18, the pontiff stressed that the stories of the pain and hope of migrants "can become opportunities for fraternal encounter and true mutual knowledge. Indeed, the personal encounter with the refugees dissipates distorted fears and ideologies, and becomes a growth factor in humanity, capable of making room for feelings of openness and bridge building."

Presenting the report drawn up each year by the Agency, Grandi detailed the numbers: "The total number of refugees, about 300,000 more than last year, exceeds the British population [65,14 million, ndr]. This means that on average about 20 people per minute last year were forced to flee their homes, one every three seconds."

Although the increase in refugees is slightly higher than 2015, the same can not be said compared to 2014: at least six million more. In total, in 2016 nearly 10.3 million people fled from war or persecution areas. Of these, about 3.4 million have crossed the borders of neighboring states.

According to the figures collected at the end of last year, 40.3 million people worldwide are Internally Displaced People (IDPs); 22.5 Refugees; 2.8 million asylum seekers. From the point of view of the geographical origin of migrants, Syria has 5.5 million (plus 6.3 million internally displaced persons), followed by Afghanistan (2.5 million) and Sudan Sudan (1.4 millions).

The head of the UN Refugee Agency warned that the Syrian conflict, which has entered the seventh year, "is becoming a forgotten crisis", despite civilian casualties being more than 320,000. Another alarming situation, he added, is that of South Sudan, "the humanitarian crisis and the fastest displacement" that has ever been witnessed.

A separate discourse must be made for the situation of the Palestinians. In nearly 70 years of Israeli occupation, there are at least 5.3 million refugees, which is "the highest level ever reached". Finally, the UN representative pointed out that the biggest burden of migration, despite the desperate who reach the shores of Europe every day, is supported by the poorest countries. At least 84% of refugees find shelter in Turkey (which has 2.9 million people), Pakistan (1.4 million), Lebanon (over one million), Iran (979.400 migrants), Uganda (940.800) and Ethiopia 761 600).

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