13:03 Jun. 20, 2016
65.3 million people, or one person in 113, were displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution in 2015
Wars and persecution have driven more people from their homes than at any time since UNHCR records began, according to a new report released today by the UN Refugee Agency.
The report, entitled Global Trends, noted that on average 24 people were forced to flee each minute in 2015, four times more than a decade earlier, when six people fled every 60 seconds.
The detailed study, which tracks forced displacement worldwide based on data from governments, partner agencies and UNHCR's own reporting, found a total 65.3 million people were displaced at the end of 2015, compared to 59.5 million just 12 months earlier.
It is the first time in the organization's history that the threshold of 60 million has been crossed.
"More people are being displaced by war and persecution and that's worrying in itself, but the factors that endanger refugees are multiplying too," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
"At sea, a frightening number of refugees and migrants are dying each year; on land, people fleeing war are finding their way blocked by closed borders. Closing borders does not solve the problem."
Grandi said that politics was also standing in the way of those seeking asylum in some countries.
"The willingness of nations to work together not just for refugees but for the collective human interest is what's being tested today, and it's this spirit of unity that badly needs to prevail," Grandi declared.
The report found that, measured against the world's population of 7.4 billion people, one in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee – putting them at a level of risk for which UNHCR knows no precedent.
A Syrian refugee girl holds her younger brother while standing at the doorway of her family's tent at an informal tented settlement near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan, June 3, 2016 (AP Photo)
To put it in perspective, the tally is greater than the population of the United Kingdom – or of Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined. It is made up of 3.2 million people in industrialized countries who, at the end of 2015, were awaiting decisions on asylum – the largest total UNHCR has ever recorded. Full story
View the full report