UN refugee report warns South Sudan could be next Syria

South Sudan had the world’s fastest growing refugee population last year and could be the next Syria, warns a new report by the United Nations Refugee Agency.The number of refugees from the fledgling country, established six years ago, spiked by 64 per cent in the last six months of 2016 to over 1.4 million, the majority of them children, according to the refugee agency’s annual global refugee trends report released Tuesday on World Refugee Day.South Sudan, currently caught in a brutal ethnic war, is behind only Syria and Afghanistan in terms of the size of its refugee population, with people from those two countries accounting for 5.5 million and 2.5 million respectively of all refugees who left their homeland for safety.Together the three countries made up 55 per cent of the world’s 65.6 million displaced people — a category that includes those forced out of their homes who remain within their own country — in 2016, when there were 20 new displacements every minute, said the UN 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,” Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees, said in a statement.Article Continued Below“We have to do better for these people. For a world in conflict, what is needed is determination and courage, not fear.”Some 37 countries together accepted 189,300 refugees for resettlement. Around half a million other refugees were able to return to their home countries, and about 6.5 million internally displaced people to their areas of origin — although many did so in less than ideal circumstances and facing uncertain prospects.Children, including some 75,000 unaccompanied minors, constituted 51 per cent of the refugee population though they only make up 31 per cent of the world’s entire population.