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United Nations: Highest all-time level of refugees

By Shawn Price
United Nations: Highest all-time level of refugees
Thousands of refugees were stranded in a makeshift camp in Idomeni, Greece, along the border with Macedonia in April 2016 after the border closed. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees issued a report saying in 2015 there were more displaced people in the world than in World War II. File Photo by David Caprara/UPI

NEW YORK, June 20 (UPI) -- The number of refugees around the world is at its highest level ever recorded, the United Nations refugee agency reported.

In the new annual report released to commemorate World Refugee Day, the agency said the number of refugees globally has reached the 65.3 million mark for the first time in history. That number includes refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced by the end of 2015. The record number was a jump of an additional 5 million people since 2014.

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The refugee level is also the highest since World War II, creating a new "climate of xenophobia" that has boosted support for far-right groups and anti-immigrant policies, the U.N. refugee chief said.

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Turkey has the largest number of refugees with 2.5 million people, followed by Pakistan and Lebanon. More than half of the world's refuges are escaping Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.

The top destinations most refugees sought were Germany and Sweden, according to the report.

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