A record number of people in the world were forced to flee their homes in 2016 due to conflicts, persecution, or economic miseries, the United Nations (UN) says. The UN refugee agency said in its latest annual report that nearly 65.6 million people around the world were displaced either internally or externally last year.
The record number showed an increase of 300,000, compared to 2015, according to the agency. The announcement comes ahead of the publication of the Global Trends Report due on June 20, which is World Refugee Day.
Children and teens reportedly make up more than half of the refugee population. Unaccompanied or separated children, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan, filed some 75,000 applications in 70 countries in 2016.
In 2015, as the refugee influx to the European Union countries from Syria, Afghanistan, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa was at its peak, the EU leadership decided to divide the asylum seekers landing on the bloc in Greece and Italy among its members.
The scheme faced resistance from some states, especially in Eastern Europe, which complained that taking in refugees would expose them to serious security and economic risks. Eventually, Germany received the highest number. Many political analysts see Western economic policies and politico-military interventions as being behind the worldwide refugee crisis.