The UN’s Secretary General has stressed the importance of Christians returning to the areas from which they fled in Iraq and Syria.
“I am fully convinced that after the stability of the situation in Iraq and Syria and the adoption of a certain political decision, it is very important to ensure the return of the Christians, in general, to the religious minorities, and the Yazidis themselves, to their homeland,” António Guterres told Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill yesterday.
“My concern is very personal,” he added.
The secretary general made his comments on World Refugee Day, as Refugee Week is marked around the world.
The 2017 Global Report of the UN High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) noted that the number of refugees and internally displaced people as a result of conflicts reached a new record last year.
By the end of 2017, 68.5 million people had been driven from their homes across the world as a result of persecution, conflict, or violence, leading to 40 million internally displaced people (IDPs), 25.4 million refugees and 3.1 million asylum-seekers.
Among them were 16.6 million newly displaced people, which amounts to 44,400 people forcibly displaced from their homes every day last year and is the highest annual number recorded by the UNHCR.
As for newly internally displaced people in 2017, the six most represented countries were Syria, the DRC, South Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, and the Philippines.
As for refugees, according to the UNHCR the came mostly from five nations: Syria (6.3 million), Afghanistan (2.6 million), South Sudan (2.4 million), Myanmar (1.2 million) and Somalia (986,400).