A record 65.6 million people worldwide were forced from their homes due to conflict or persecution by the end of 2016, the United Nations refugee agency's said on Thursday a few days before the publication of the Global Trends Report on World Refugee Day, taking place on June 20.
The number of refugees is more than the population of Britain and an increase of 300,000 over the previous year. This included 22.5 million refugees, 40.3 million uprooted within their countries and 2.8 million asylum seekers.
Children under 18 make up just over half the refugee population.
- Asylum Seekers in Israel Say New Law Robs Them of Wages
- Ethiopia's Leader Is Proud to Show Israel the Way When It Comes to Refugees
- Berlin Opens First LGBT-friendly Mosque as 'Feminist' Islam Emerges to Fight Extremism
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said more than half of refugees globally come from three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan, which have been war-torn for years.
The fastest growing refugee population was spurred by the crisis in South Sudan while nearly two-thirds of Syrians have been forced to flee their homes.
With developing regions hosting 84 percent of the world's refugees, Grandi once again renewed his call to the wealthiest countries to welcome more of them, at a time when the United States is reviewing its refugee programme and entry conditions to the country.
Some European countries such as Hungary have erected barriers while others have tightened their legislation.
There were 2 million new asylum claims in 2016. Germany received the highest number, followed by the United States, Italy and Turkey.
Unaccompanied or separated children - mainly Afghans and Syrians - lodged some 75,000 applications in 70 countries in 2016. But this is thought to be an underestimate as the data is incomplete.