#WorldRefugeeDay sees highest ever number of people displaced


2,500 died in 2016 alone trying to cross the Mediterranean 

THE NUMBER of people displaced by conflict has reached 65.3m – the highest number ever – the UN has reported.

Marking World Refugee Day, the UN has said that there are now more refugees and internally displaced people than ever before, with 1 in 113 of all people on earth having fled conflict or persecution. 

More than half of all these people come from either Syria, Afghanistan or Somalia; and half are children. 

The vast majority of these people, the UN’s report noted, are living in low or middle income countries; primarily Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon. 

The UN’s high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi said a “climate of xenophobia” has developed in Europe, “stirred up” by political leaders.  

Read more: Special report form Idomeni camp, ‘How refugees are losing the will to live as Europe looks on’

The Italian criticised the lack of action taken by the EU to handle the influx of refugees in the past year, saying in a statement: “World leaders can no longer watch passively as so many lives are needlessly lost.”

So far this year 2,500 people have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean. Tens of thousands are currently stuck in Greek camps, where conditions are reportedly very bad, after routes to northern Europe were closed down earlier this year. The deal between Turkey and the EU in April, which saw refugees deported back to Turkey from Europe, was condemned by the Council of Europe and human rights organisations. 

The Scottish Refugee Council’s annual festival runs to 26 June, with music and cultural events throughout Scotland. 

Picture courtesy of Crossroads Foundation

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