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Record 65 million people displaced worldwide

Watch now: More than half of all refugees came from three countries [Getty/AFP]

Date of publication: 20 June, 2016

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Video: Persecution and conflict in places like Syria and Afghanistan has raised the number of refugees and internally displaced people to a record 65.3 million at the end of 2015.
The number of people displaced worldwide has hit a new record, with 65.3 million people forced from their home as of the end of 2015, the United Nations said on Monday.

"This is the first time that the threshold of 60 million has been crossed," the UN refugee agency said.

The figures, released on World Refugee Day, underscore twin pressures fuelling an unprecedented global displacement crisis.

As conflict and persecution force growing numbers of people to flee, anti-migrant political sentiment has strained the will to resettle refugees, according to UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said.

"The willingness of nations to work together not just for refugees but for the collective human interest is what's being tested today," he said in a statement.

The number of people displaced globally rose by 5.8 million through 2015, according to the UN figures.

Counting Earth's population at 7.349 billion, the UN said that one out of every 113 people on the planet was now either internally displaced or a refugee.

As conflict and persecution force growing numbers of people to flee, anti-migrant political sentiment has strained the will to resettle refugees

That marks "a level of risk for which UNHCR knows no precedent", the agency said, noting that the number of people displaced is now higher than the populations of Britain or France.

The Geneva-based 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 percent since 2011 alone – when the Syria war began.

On average, 24 people had been displaced every minute of every day last year

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 neighboring Syria. Afghan neighbor Pakistan had 1.6 million, while Lebanon, next to Syria, hosted 1.1 million.

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