Sunday, 20 August, 2017

South Sudan's displaced see little chance of peace

Lance Thomas | 20 June, 2017, 00:11

In 2016, 65.6 million people had to leave their homes due to violence and persecution, up from 65.3 million in 2015, and 59.5 million in 2014, according to the United Nations refugee agency's annual Global Trends report. A more recent driver of refugees is the conflict in South Sudan, where a breakdown in peace talks led to an outflow of 737,400 people by the end of a year ago, the report said.

The UNHCR reports that one in every 113 people worldwide is either a refugee or is forcibly displaced within his or her own country.

The report showed that 84 percent of all refugees who crossed borders went to low- or middle-income countries at the end of 2016, and that roughly 1 in 3 was hosted in the poorest countries, which can least afford the burden.

Almost two-thirds of this total are people who have been forcibly displaced within their own country.

The record number includes 22.5 million refugees, 40.3 million internally displaced people and 2.8 million asylum seekers.

Despite the decrease, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has termed it as a "disappointing failure" of the UN legateship.

Syria accounts for by far the largest share of total displaced persons worldwide, with a total of 12 million people displaced internally or living outside the country as refugees. Of these, 17.2 million come under the responsibility of UNHCR, and the remainder are Palestinian refugees registered with our sister-organization UNRWA.

However, in 2016 the biggest new factor was South Sudan, where the disastrous break-off of peace efforts in July contributed to an outflow of 737,400 people by the end of the year.

Ongoing crises in sub-Saharan Africa have resulted in large and sudden population displacements, which results in neighboring countries opening their borders to those fleeing conflict.

Uganda received the largest number of new refugees in 2016 in the world, said new figures released by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Monday. Elsewhere, large numbers of refugees fled Burundi (121,700 newly recognised refugees), Iraq (81,900), Eritrea (69,600), Afghanistan (69,500), and Nigeria (64,700).

Despite peace agreements and efforts to address a growing refugee crisis, the number of people forcibly displaced around the world continued to climb previous year, according to a United Nations report issued Monday.

- Some 189,300 refugees were accepted for resettlement by 37 countries.

Half of all refugees were children.

At the end of 2016, there were about 40.3 million internally displaced people in the world, down slightly from 40.8 million a year earlier, with Syria, Iraq and Colombia accounting for the greatest numbers. "If we fail, we will be faced with a more unstable world, where the alarming high displacement figures will only continue to increase", said Egeland.

This huge imbalance reflects several things including the lack of consensus internationally when it comes to hosting refugees, and the proximity of many poor countries to regions of conflict.

"The world seems to have become unable to make peace", Grandi said. Tragically, 75,000 asylum claims were received from children travelling alone or separated from their parents.

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