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Evacuees make bread inside a refugee camp in Erbil, Iraq, for people who fled from Mosul due to fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants. Photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters

Every minute, 20 people are displaced by violence, persecution: UN report

Despite peace agreements and efforts to address a growing refugee crisis, the number of people forcibly displaced around the world continued to climb last year, according to a U.N. report issued Monday.

In 2016, 65.6 million people had to leave their homes due to violence and persecution, up from 65.3 million in 2015, and 59.5 million in 2014, according to the U.N. refugee agency’s annual Global Trends report.

“By any measure this is an unacceptable number, and it speaks louder than ever to the need for solidarity and common purpose in preventing and resolving crises, and ensuring together that the world’s refugees, internally displaced and asylum seekers are properly protected and cared for while solutions are pursued,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

Here are more highlights from the report:

  • Syria’s civil war is still the largest source of refugees (5.5 million), but the turmoil in South Sudan was newest largest factor, uprooting 1.87 million people to date.
  • After Syria, Colombia was the second largest source of people forcibly displaced. Despite a peace deal signed in November between the government and FARC rebels, fighting has continued among other armed groups, along with child soldier recruitment and gender-based violence, forcing people to seek safety elsewhere.
  • Thirty-seven countries have taken in refugees, and most refugees (84 percent) were in developing nations, because they tend to be closest to areas of conflict.
  • Turkey hosts the most refugees at 2.9 million. Lebanon still has the highest number per capita (one in six people).
  • One bright spot was that more refugees returned home than in years past (552,200 people).

READ MORE: U.N. refugee chief hopes for ‘robust’ resettlement programs in U.S.

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