The number of people worldwide forced to flee their homes has topped more than 50 million for the first time since World War Two, according to a new UN report.
Syrians fleeing the escalating conflict in their homeland accounted for highest number of new refugees last year.
The UNHCR says the dramatic increase in displaced people, up six million from 2013, poses a major challenge.
It comes amid claims that some European countries are not taking their fair share of asylum seekers.
‘‘There is a general sense of impunity. Conflicts emerge and dramatic violations of human rights appear and the international community has lost much of its capacity to prevent conflict situations and to timely solve them,’‘ UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonia Guterres said.
The UN report also says more than half the world’s refugees and internally displaced people are children. Many travel alone or in groups desperately seeking sanctuary only to fall prey to human traffickers.
Along with the ongoing war in Syria, conflicts in the Central African Republic and South Sudan are blamed for fuelling the substantial increase.