27 mn people displaced within their country: UN

The number of people forcibly displaced within their own country grew by four percent to 27.1 million in 2009, the UN has said.

Updated: Jun 16, 2010, 10:39 AM IST

Geneva: The number of people forcibly displaced within their own country grew by four percent to 27.1 million in 2009, the UN has said.

Persistent conflict in Pakistan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, accounted for the increase in the overall figure, it said.

However, the number of refugees worldwide remained relatively stable at 15.2 million, the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in its 2009 Global Trends report Tuesday.

The UNHRC said only 251,000 of the 15.2 million refugees returned to their home countries in 2009, the lowest rate in 20 years.

The report also notes that increasingly refugees are living in cities, mainly in the developing world, contrary to the notion that refugees are inundating industrialised nations.

Over the last decade, at least 1.3 million refugees have been naturalised - more than half of them in the US, the report said.

The total of 43.3 million forcibly displaced people in 2009 was the highest number since mid-1990s, it said.

"Major conflicts such as those in Afghanistan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo show no signs of being resolved," said Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

"Conflicts that had appeared to be ending or were on the way to being resolved, such as in southern Sudan or in Iraq, are stagnating. As a result last year was not a good year for voluntary repatriation. In fact, it was the worst in 20 years," he added.

IANS