Over 70 million people displaced in 2018

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Eight-year-old Rouaa says she does not want to return to war-torn Syria

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Eight-year-old Rouaa says she does not want to return to war-torn Syria

Venezuelans, arriving mainly in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, formed the second biggest flow overseas last year, after Syrians fleeing to Turkey following eight years of war, the report said.

Despite populist rhetoric in the West, the real refugee crisis is playing out in developing countries, which hosts most of the record 70.8 million displaced people who have fled war and persecution, the United Nations said on Wednesday (June 19).

There was, overall, a decline in the number of refugees accepted around the world.

The second group is of those classified as asylum seekers - people outside their country of origin and receiving global protection, but awaiting the outcome of their claim to refugee status.

The number of refugees Canada resettled a year ago was in line with 2017 figures, while the United States numbers dropped.

Syria is among the countries with the highest number of internally displaced people, the United Nations says. The U.N. refugee chief said that to heighten anger at refugees, painting them as a threat to domestic workers, was "damaging".

The report also found that displaced people are staying displaced for longer. The countries with the most internally displaced people - fleeing within their own countries - are Syria, wracked by conflict since 2011 and Colombia, plagued by decades of violence, said the UNHCR.

The report lists 41.3 million internally displaced people (IDPs), 25.9 million refugees, and 3.5 million asylum seekers - those awaiting a decision on their bid for official refugee protection.

"The global trends, once again unfortunately, go in what I would say is the wrong direction", Grandi told reporters in the Swiss city of Geneva.

"It is true there are new conflicts, new situations producing refugees., (but) the old ones never get resolved", he added.

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The phenomenon is both growing in size and duration. He added: "Four out of five remain refugees for at least five years... and one-fifth of refugees remain so for more than 20 years". Venezuela had around 4 million people displaced to date, according to data from governments receiving them, making it one of the largest recent displacement crisis in recent times.

At the end of 2018 there were 3.5 million asylum seekers globally.

The figure of 70.8 million is conservative, in particular as the crisis in Venezuela is still only partly reflected in this number. Many of those have travelled freely to Peru, Colombia and Brazil, but only about one-eighth have sought formal global protection, and the outflow continues, suggesting the strains on the welcoming countries could worsen.

Grandi predicts people will continue to flee Venezuela and pleaded for more assistance to the region. He said this can lead them to take measures that are harmful to refugees.

"So the appeal I make, now that we are in a situation where European (Parliament) elections are behind us, is to stop this electoral agitation". The US is the biggest single donor to UNHCR.

"While language around refugees and migrants is often divisive, we are also witnessing an outpouring of generosity and solidarity, especially by communities who are themselves hosting large numbers of refugees". More than a quarter-million claims were added past year.

"I want to say to the USA administration - to the president - but also to the leaders around the world: This is damaging", he added.

However, most refugees who resettled in the US were from Africa and Asia.

This is the seventh year in a row that the number of refugees has hit an all-time high.

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