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Uganda received more than half a million refugees last year, the largest number in the world, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council. According to new displacement figures launched by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 65.6 million people were displaced due to war and persecution at the beginning of 2017. The report also shows that for the fifth year in a row, the number of people displaced worldwide continued to increase from an already historically high level.
“Today we live in a world in which uncertainty often abounds; economic instability, political upheaval and violence close to home can make us want to shut our eyes or close our doors. However, fear and exclusion will not lead us to a better place – they can only lead to barriers, alienation and despair. It’s time to change this trajectory for the better,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi on World Refugee Day last Monday.
Although the ongoing crisis in Syria and Iraq continues to dominate coverage, conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and South Sudan have forced millions of people to flee their homes.
South Sudan, the world´s fastest growing refugee crisis, has by now forced 1.9 million people to flee across the border. About half of these are currently finding safety in Uganda.
Despite this, the country has received only 17 per cent of the money needed to provide the most basic support to refugees and host communities so far this year.
“About 2,000 people crossed the border from South Sudan into Uganda each day over the last twelve months. Borders must be kept open, but we cannot expect a country like Uganda to shoulder the entire bill,” said Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland.
He further called on all countries to step up to the challenges the world is currently facing. “The historic high displacement figures must foster more dedicated work for political solutions, increase funding to meet humanitarian needs, and bring a larger willingness among all countries to take their share of the responsibility. If we fail, we will be faced with a more unstable world, where the alarming high displacement figures will only continue to increase,” Egeland underlined.
Turkey is the country hosting the largest number of refugees in the world, with 3.1 million, followed by Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Pakistan. In Africa, Ethiopia has the largest number refugees hosting displaced people from Eritrea, South Sudan as well as Somalia.