Nearly 66 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes last year, the United Nation refugee agency today reported, stressing the “very high” pace at which conflict and persecution is forcing people to flee their homes.

The figure equates to “one person displaced every three seconds – less than the time it takes to read this sentence.”

The report Global Trends, released by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), marks a jump of 300,000 since the end of 2015.

“By any measure this is an unacceptable number,” said UN High Commissioner Filippo Grandi, urging “solidarity and a common purpose in preventing and resolving crisis.” He also called for properly protecting and caring for the world's refugees, internally displaced and asylum-seekers – who currently number 22.5 million, 40.3 million, and 2.8 million, respectively.

According to the report, Syria remains “the world's biggest producer of refugees” with 12 million people living in neighbouring countries and away from the region. There are 7.7 million displaced Colombians, 4.7 million Afghans and 4.2 million Iraqis.

In total, about 3.3 million South Sudanese had fled their homes by the end of the year, in what is known as the fastest-growing displacement of people in the world.

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