File photo shows Refugees from South Sudan wait to be settled outside the Khour Al-Waral refugee camp in Al-Salam locality, some 69-kilometers south of Rebek, capital of White Nile State, Sudan, May 18, 2017. (Xinhua/Mohamed Babiker)
CAPE TOWN, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Wars, other violence and persecution displaced 68.5 million people worldwide by the end of 2017, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday.
The number of displaced people reached a new high in 2017 for the fifth year in a row, led by the crisis in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan's war, and the flight into Bangladesh from Myanmar of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees, the UNHCR said in its annual Global Trends report, released in Cape Town.
Overwhelmingly it is developing countries that are most affected, the UNHCR said.
Among those displaced, there are 16.2 million people who became displaced during 2017 itself, either for the first time or repeatedly, indicating a huge number of people on the move and equivalent to 44,500 people being displaced each day, or a person becoming displaced every two seconds, according to the report.
Refugees who have fled their countries to escape conflict and persecution accounted for 25.4 million of the 68.5 million. This is 2.9 million more than in 2016, also the biggest increase UNHCR has seen in a single year, the report said.
Asylum-seekers, who were still awaiting the outcome of their claims to refugee status as of December 31, 2017, meanwhile rose by around 300,000 to 3.1 million, according to the report.
People displaced inside their own country accounted for 40 million of the total, slightly fewer than the 40.3 million in 2016, said the report.
"We are at a watershed, where success in managing forced displacement globally requires a new and far more comprehensive approach so that countries and communities aren't left dealing with this alone," said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
But there is reason for some hope as 14 countries are already pioneering a new blueprint for responding to refugee situations and in a matter of months a new Global Compact on Refugees will be ready for adoption by the United Nations General Assembly, said Grandi.
UNHCR's Global Trends report is released worldwide each year ahead of World Refugee Day which falls on June 20. It tracks forced displacement based on data gathered by the UNHCR, governments, and other partners.