A record 65.3 million people around the world were displaced by war and persecution last year, the UN’s refugee agency said Monday.
Of these, nearly a third - 21.3 million people - were refugees forced to seek sanctuary abroad.
A report from the office of the Geneva-based UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said the increase was driven by conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Ukraine, South Sudan and Burundi.
“More people are being displaced by war and persecution and that’s worrying in itself but the factors that endanger refugees are multiplying too,” Grandi said in a statement.
“People fleeing war are finding their way blocked by closed borders. Closing borders does not solve the problem.”
The year saw unprecedented levels of migration to Europe as more than 1.1 million crossed the Mediterranean Sea from Africa and Turkey to seek refuge in the EU, leading to many EU states introducing border controls.
“On average, 24 people were forced to flee each minute in 2015, four times more than a decade earlier, when six people fled every 60 seconds,” the Global Trends report, released on World Refugee Day, said.
In 2014, 59.5 million were displaced.
According to the agency, three countries - Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia - accounted for 8.7 million refugees.
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