A record 65 million men, women and children were forced from their homes by war and persecution last year, leaving one in every 112 people a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum at the end of 2015, according to the UN.
The latest annual global trends study from the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, shows that the total number of forcibly displaced people rose sharply last year, increasing from 59.5 million in December 2014 to 65.3 million in December 2015.
With 24 people being displaced every minute and the threshold of 60 million crossed for the first time, the number of forcibly displaced people across the world is now greater than the entire population of the UK. Were the 65.3 million to be counted as the population of a single country, it would be the 21st largest in the world.
Although the total includes 21.3 million refugees and 3.2 million people awaiting asylum decisions, the overwhelming majority of the displaced – 40.8 million – are exiled from their homes within the borders of their own countries.
The UNHCR said the figures had increased by more than 50% over the past five years as levels of displacement reached their highest since the aftermath of the second world war. The organisation added that it knew of no precedent for the level of risk posed by displacement on such a massive scale.
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