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UN says 2015 global refugee count to hit new record above 60 million


MIGRANTSThe UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Friday in Geneva that the number of refugees and internally displaced people worldwide would likely reach a new record far beyond 60 million this year.

This was contained in the UNHCR preliminary annual statistics that were based on data from the first half of the year.

Antonio Guterres, the outgoing UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said the number was an indication that one in every 122 humans has been forced from their home.

“Forced displacement is now profoundly affecting our times.

“Never has there been a greater need for tolerance, compassion and solidarity with people who have lost everything,” he said.

Guterres, who is also a former Portuguese Prime Minister and Peace Negotiator, said at least 5 million people around the world fled across borders or became displaced within their countries between January and June.

“Syria has remained the biggest source of new refugees this year and the conflict there contributed to the new annual record.

“Syria’s neighbor,Turkey was the world’s biggest host, according to the refugee agency and currently hosts 2.3 million Syrians,’’ he said.

The peace negotiator said in another country bordering Syria, one in five inhabitants was a refugee, making it the country with the biggest refugee population per capita.

Guterres said the agency was worried that the number of refugees who returned home during the first half of 2015, was at the lowest level in 30 years, as falling return rates indicated high levels of conflict around the world.

Guterres, a former Portuguese prime minister and peace negotiator, leaves office at the end of the year.

He would be replaced by the Italian UN Diplomat Filippo Grandi, who led the UN agency for Palestinian refugees until 2014.

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