South Sudan's displaced see little chance of peace

Devastating conflicts, violence and persecution in places like Syria and South Sudan had left a record 65.6 million people uprooted from their homes by the end of 2016, the United Nations said Monday.

More than 737,000 people fled the conflict in South Sudan previous year.

Only 0.24% of the United Kingdom population are refugees, asylum seekers or stateless people - that is 168,978 people, around the population of Rochdale in greater Manchester.

The report also showed that, worldwide, most refugees-84 per cent-were in developing or middle-income countries at the end of 2016. About 3.3 million people were displaced, with 737,400 being externally displaced.

Data show that the Syrian conflict has generated the largest numbers of displaced people worldwide, with 12 million people, or almost two-thirds of the population, either internally displaced or living as refugees, mainly in five neighboring countries - Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt.

The main country of origin for refugees in 2016 was Syria, accounting for 5.5 million refugees.

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

Uganda experienced a dramatic increase in its refugee population, which doubled in 2016 to 940,800, with most new arrivals coming from South Sudan.

The ongoing conflict in South Sudan has caused massive displacement, extensive violence along ethnic lines, dire food shortages and unimaginable levels of suffering among South Sudanese people, particularly women and children, Bibeau said.

For the third consecutive year, Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees worldwide, with 2.9 million people. South Sudan, with a little over a quarter, has the next-biggest proportion - and fastest growing displaced population overall, the agency said.

Since then, almost two million people have fled fighting that the United Nations has said amounts in some areas to ethnic cleansing.

At a meeting held after the rally, Chief Mission of UNHCR India Yasuko Shimizu said that despite the growth in the anti-refugee rhetoric in many parts of the world, the "hope and resilience" of those forced to flee their homes were matched with "support and assistance" across the world from peoples, organisations and governments. "Now, the authorities have a greater responsibility because they are in charge of this country and it is under their leadership that we must seek security", Grandi said.

About half of the refugee population last year were children younger than 18 years of age, according the report.

"The richest and most stable countries from Europe to the USA do their uttermost to keep refugees away".

Monday's report also pointed out that, despite huge focus on Europe's migrant crisis, it is poorer countries that host most of the world's refugees.

"This equates to one person becoming displaced every three seconds - less than the time it takes to read this sentence", UNHCR pointed out in a statement.

Tragically, 75,000 asylum claims were received from children travelling alone or separated from their parents, among them youngsters like Tareq, 16, who dodged armed combatants to walk out of Syria into neighbouring Turkey.


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