UN agency calls for ac­tion over refugee cri­sis

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

The UN refugee agency says per­se­cu­tion and con­flict in places like Syria and Afghanistan raised the to­tal num­ber of refugees and in­ter­nally dis­placed peo­ple world­wide to a record 65.3 mil­lion at the end of last year.

The pre­vi­ous year, 2014, had al­ready seen the high­est num­ber of refugees world­wide since the Sec­ond World War, with 60 mil­lion dis­placed peo­ple.

But last year - when Europe stag­gered un­der the ar­rival of large num­bers of mi­grants - topped that record by nearly 10 per cent, the UNHCR said in its an­nual Global Trends Re­port.

The agency urged lead­ers from Europe and else­where to do more to end the wars that are fan­ning the ex­o­dus of peo­ple from their home­lands.

“I hope that the mes­sage car­ried by those forcibly dis­placed reaches the lead­er­ships: we need ac­tion, po­lit­i­cal ac­tion, to stop con­flicts,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees. “The mes­sage that they have car­ried is: ‘if you don’t solve prob­lems, prob­lems will come to you’.”

With stark de­tail, UNHCR said that on av­er­age, 24 peo­ple had been dis­placed ev­ery minute of ev­ery day last year - or 34,000 peo­ple a day - up from six ev­ery minute in 2005. Global dis­place­ment has roughly dou­bled since 1997, and risen by 50 per cent since 2011 alone - when the Syria war be­gan.

More than half of all refugees came from three coun­tries: Syria, Afghanistan and So­ma­lia.

Turkey was the “top host” coun­try for the sec­ond year run­ning, tak­ing in 2.5 mil­lion peo­ple - nearly all from neigh­bour­ing Syria. Afghan neigh­bour Pak­istan had 1.6 mil­lion, while Le­banon, next to Syria, hosted 1.1 mil­lion.

Grandi said pol­i­cy­mak­ers and ad­vo­cacy groups face daunt­ing chal­lenges help­ing the largest sub­set of dis­placed peo­ple: some 40.8 mil­lion in­ter­nally dis­placed in coun­tries in con­flict. An­other 21.3 mil­lion were refugees and some 3.2 mil­lion more were seek­ing asy­lum.

More than a mil­lion peo­ple fled to Europe last year, caus­ing a po­lit­i­cal cri­sis in the Euro­pean Union.

TOUGH TIMES: An Afghan girl washes clothes at her tem­po­rary home in a camp for in­ter­nally dis­placed peo­ple in Kabul

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