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On the eve of World Refugee Day, the United Nations High-Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) published its annual Global Trends report on asylum.
The findings are overwhelming: at the end of 2016, 65,6 million people worldwide were displaced from their homes; it is the highest figure ever recorded since the Agency has been funded in 1950 and equates to the 20th most populated country in the world, bigger than the United Kingdom!
Of these displaced people, 22,5 million were refugees (half of whom are children) and 22,8 million, asylum seekers. Among these, 75,000 were unaccompanied minors, which equates to an increase of about 50% since 2014.
In absolute figures, Syria still accounts for the biggest numbers, with 12 million people (65% of the population) displaced internally or living outside the country as refugees. Leaving aside the long-standing Palestinian refugee situation, Colombians (7.7 million) and Afghans (4.7 million) remained the second- and third-largest displaced populations, followed by Iraqis (4.2 million).
In addition, about 3.3 million South Sudanese had fled their homes by the end of the year, in what has become the fastest-growing displacement of people in the world.
According to the report, at the end of 2016, 84% of refugees were in developing or middle-income countries; one person in three was hosted by the world’s least developed countries. In Europe, Turkey receives the highest number of refugees with 2,9 million people, mostly Syrians.
On the basis of these data, Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High-Commissioner for Refugees, called for « the need for solidarity and common purpose in preventing and resolving crises, and ensuring together that the world’s refugees, internally displaced and asylum-seekers are properly protected and cared for while solutions are pursued ».
 UNHCR, Press release: “Forced displacement worldwide at its highest in decades”, 19 June 2017: http://www.unhcr.org/news/stories/2017/6/5941561f4/forced-displacement-worldwide-its-highest-decades.html