Record 65.3 million people displaced last year, often face barriers

A year with refugees
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A year with refugees
Two Syrian refugees sit at the dock of the port of Kos as the passenger ship "Eleftherios Venizelos" backs into the quay on the Greek island of Kos, August 14, 2015. The vessel will house more than 2500 migrants who arrived in the country from the Turkish coast and will be used as a registration center for migrants. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) called on Greece to take control of the "total chaos" on Mediterranean islands, where thousands of migrants have landed. About 124,000 have arrived this year by sea, many via Turkey, according to Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR director for Europe. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
Refugees and migrants arrive aboard the passenger ferry Blue Star Patmos from the island of Lesbos at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece, October 29, 2015. More than half a million migrants have transited through Greece so far this year, many fleeing Syria's civil war on a short but perilous crossing from Turkey on inflatable rubber boats. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Syrian refugees sit behind barbed wire as they wait to cross into Macedonia at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the village of Idomeni, August 21, 2015. Macedonian police fired tear gas and stun grenades to drive migrants and refugees back from its southern border from Greece on Friday but crowds continued to build up at a new bottleneck in an increasingly desperate flight to western Europe. At least 10 people were hurt in the brief flare-up, a day after the impoverished Balkan country declared a state of emergency on its border to halt a daily influx of up to 2,000 Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis and others heading north. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A policeman tries to stop a migrant from boarding a train through a window at Gevgelija train station in Macedonia, close to the border with Greece, August 15, 2015. Reuters and The New York Times shared the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography for images of the migrant crisis in Europe and the Middle East. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Syrian refugees covered with dust arrive at the Trabeel border, after crossing into Jordanian territory with their families, near the northeastern Jordanian border with Syria, and Iraq, near the town of Ruwaished, east of Amman September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A migrant rests after disembarking from the German navy vessel Schleswig Holstein in the Sicilian harbour of Augusta, Italy July 23, 2015. Traditionally a nation of emigrants, Italy is now struggling to absorb a ceaseless influx of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is under pressure to stem the flow and his government is fighting to calm tensions. Migrant arrivals have already exceeded 85,000 this year, following 170,000 in all of 2014. While many of the newcomers look to move swiftly to wealthier northern Europe, some 85,000 are housed in Italian shelters - up from 60,000 last year. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Hungarian policemen detain a Syrian migrant family after they entered Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A migrant boy wipes his mother's tears away as they wait to board to the Turkish Coast Guard Search and Rescue ship Umut-703 off the shores of Izmir, Turkey, after a failed attempt of crossing to the Greek island of Chios, February 28, 2016. Picture taken February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
Syrian refugees call for help and empty water from their flooding raft as they approach the Greek island of Lesbos October 20, 2015.Thousands of refugees - mostly fleeing war-torn Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq - attempt daily to cross the Aegean Sea from nearby Turkey, a short trip but a perilous one in the inflatable boats the migrants use, often in rough seas.Almost 400,000 people have arrived in Greece this year, according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, overwhelming the cash-strapped nation's ability to cope. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Migrants play soccer on the basketball court at the Guillaume-Bude secondary school, on which is painted in French "Solidarity with refugees" in Paris, France, August 2, 2015. Some two hundred migrants, of whom some were expelled from a makeshift tent city in the French capital seek refuge in the annexe of the secondary school. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
Migrants telephone near a fence topped with barbed wire near the makeshift camp called "The New Jungle" in Calais, France, August 19, 2015. The French interior minister and his British counterpart visit Calais on Thursday to sign a new Franco-British agreement on bilateral migratory policies. Calais remains an open wound between the two countries with more than than 3000 migrants trying to scale fences and cross the Channel Tunnel to reach Britain. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A migrant child rests on the ground near the border with Hungary in Horgos, Serbia, September 15, 2015. Hundreds of migrants pressed against a barrier erected by Hungarian police across the main highway linking Serbia and Hungary on Tuesday, demanding they be allowed to cross the border. REUTERS/Marko Djurica TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A Greek policeman pushes refugees behind a barrier at Greece's border with Macedonia, near the Greek village of Idomeni, September 9, 2015. Most of the people flooding into Europe are refugees fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries who have a legal right to seek asylum, the United Nations said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A Syrian refugee kisses his daughter as he walks through a rainstorm towards Greece's border with Macedonia, near the Greek village of Idomeni, September 10, 2015. Most of the people flooding into Europe are refugees fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries who have a legal right to seek asylum, the United Nations said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
Syrian refugee children climb on a fence to watch a football training workshop in a refugee camp to provide Syrian and Jordanian trainers with football training skills, at Azraq refugee camp near Al Azraq city, Jordan, November 16, 2015. Syrian soccer coaches living in the Azraq refugee camp are being trained by the English Premier League in skills needed to train young players. A workshop, run by the Premier League's Premier Skills programme, began at the camp on Monday (November 16) with the plan to set up soccer leagues for young players to keep them occupied and fit. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
Stranded Iranian migrants on hunger strike, some with their lips sewn together, sit on rail tracks at the borderline between Greece and Macedonia near the Greek village of Idomeni November 25, 2015. European countries are stretched to their limits in the refugee crisis and cannot take in any more new arrivals, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was quoted as saying in a German newspaper on Wednesday. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Hagop Manushian, a Syrian refugee who arrived earlier in the morning is reunited with his granddaughter Rita at the Armenian Community Centre of Toronto in Toronto, December 11, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Migrants who are waiting to cross the Greek-Macedonian border scuffle to get a shipment of firewood near the village of Idomeni, Greece March 6, 2016. REUTERS/Marko Djurica TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Children play at a makeshift camp for migrants and refugees at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
A migrant sits on her bed after arriving at the sports hall of the Jane-Addams high school transformed into a new refugee shelter in Berlin's Hohenschoenhausen district, Germany, December 9, 2015. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Migrants line up as they disembark the German naval vessel Frankfurt Am Main in the Sicilian harbour of Pozzallo, Italy, March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Children sit on a window sill at a makeshift camp for refugees and migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece, May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Kostas Tsironis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Children watch a cartoon movie, screened at a makeshift camp for migrants and refugees at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece, April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Migrants are illuminated by police torches as they run to cross a fence during an attempt to access the Channel Tunnel in Frethun, near Calais, France, August 5, 2015. REUTERS/Juan Medina TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

GENEVA, June 20 (Reuters) - A record 65.3 million people were uprooted worldwide last year, many of them fleeing wars only to face walls, tougher laws and xenophobia as they reach borders, the United Nations refugee agency said on Monday.

The figure, which jumped from 59.5 million in 2014 and by 50 percent in five years, means that 1 in every 113 people on the planet is now a refugee, asylum-seeker or internally displaced in a home country.

Fighting in Syria, Afghanistan, Burundi and South Sudan has driven the latest exodus, bringing the total number of refugees to 21.3 million, half of them children, the UNHCR said in its "Global Trends" report marking World Refugee Day.

"The refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean and arriving on the shores of Europe, the message that they have carried is that if you don't solve problems, problems will come to you," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told a news briefing.

"It's painful that it has taken so long for people in the rich countries to understand that," he said. "We need action, political action to stop conflicts, that would be the most important prevention of refugee flows."

A record 2 million new asylum claims were lodged in industrialized countries in 2015, the report said. Nearly 100,000 were children unaccompanied or separated from their families, a three-fold rise on 2014 and a historic high.

Germany, where one in three applicants was Syrian, led with 441,900 claims, followed by the United States with 172,700, many of them fleeing gang and drug-related violence in Mexico and Central America.

Developing regions still host 86 percent of the world's refugees, led by Turkey with 2.5 million Syrians, followed by Pakistan and Lebanon, the report said.


Asylum-seekers fleeing conflicts or persecution are increasingly confronted with walls or anti-foreigner sentiment, Grandi said. "The rise of xenophobia is unfortunately becoming a very defining feature of the environment in which we work.

"Barriers are rising everywhere - and I'm not just talking of walls. But I'm talking about legislative barriers that are coming up, including in countries in the industrialized world that have been for a long time bastions of principle in defending the fundamental rights linked to asylum."

After Balkan countries closed borders, Turkey and the European Union (EU) struck a deal in March to stem an influx that brought a million refugees and migrants to Europe in 2015.

"The fact that that flow has stopped does not mean the problem of displacement has ended. It may have ended for some countries that don't have to deal with it anymore, for now," Grandi said.

Progress has lagged on a scheme to redistribute 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU states to alleviate pressure on the two frontline countries. Only 2,406 people have been relocated, EU figures show.

Grandi, asked about stalled relocation, said: "There is no Plan B for Europe. Europe will continue to receive people seeking asylum."

"Everybody has to share responsibility now," he said.

Record Number of Refugees in 2015

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