65.6 million people forced to flee due to war and persecution: UNHCR

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9 March 2017. Ngop: Women carry sacks of white maize back home after a food distribution in Ngop, Unity state, South Sudan.  The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) distributed food (maize, lentils, oil and corn soya blend) for more than 7,100 people in Ngop. While Leer and Mayendit, both also in Unity state, have been recently declared in famine, Ngop is also in high risk. The food distribution is part of a Rapid Response Mission coordinated and funded by the World Food Programme (WFP) to mitigate this risk.  Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran - NRC
9 March 2017. Ngop: Women carry sacks of white maize back home after a food distribution in Ngop, Unity state, South Sudan. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) distributed food (maize, lentils, oil and corn soya blend) for more than 7,100 people in Ngop. While Leer and Mayendit, both also in Unity state, have been recently declared in famine, Ngop is also in high risk. The food distribution is part of a Rapid Response Mission coordinated and funded by the World Food Programme (WFP) to mitigate this risk. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran – NRC

65.6 million people were displaced due to war and persecution at the beginning of 2017, according to new displacement figures launched by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Monday.

That number marks a jump of just 300,000 from the end of 2015, but is more than six million higher than at the end of 2014, according to a fresh report published by the UN refugee agency.

“The refugee crisis continues unabated behind the walls and barriers Australian, US and European leaders have erected. It may have disappeared from their view, but remains a stain on our global conscience,” said Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland.

The ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq, conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and South Sudan forced millions of people to flee their homes, the report said.

South Sudan, the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis, has by now forced 1.9 million people to flee across the border to neighbouring Uganda.

Despite the huge influx, Uganda has received only 17 per cent of the money needed to provide the most basic support to refugees and host communities so far this year.

According to Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, the richest and most stable countries from Europe to the US do their uttermost to keep refugees away, at the same time, they are not adequately funding reception of refugees in poor host countries.

World leaders meet in Kampala this week for a Solidarity Summit on Refugees , where they are expected to pledge additional support to countries hosting large numbers of refugees.

“The historic high displacement figures must foster more dedicated work for political solutions, increase funding to meet humanitarian needs, and bring a larger willingness among all countries to take their share of the responsibility.” said Egeland.

Egeland called on all countries to step up to the challenge the world is currently facing.