Turkey tops UN list of countries hosting refugees

The United Nations says Turkey accepted more refugees than any other country worldwide during the first half of 2015.

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Archive photo shows Syrian refugees walking to cross into Turkey, June 14, 2015.

Turkey took in more refugees than any other country in the world during the first half of the last year, a UN official has said.

"Turkey tops the list of countries worldwide that receive refugees," Fathi al-Dababi, director of the UN Information Center in Morocco said in a press conference held in Rabat on Thursday.

"UN data indicates that Turkey took in more than 1,838,000 refugees in the first half of last year," al-Dababi continued.

The country currently hosts more than three million Syrian and Iraqi refugees who were forced to flee their home countries due to ongoing conflicts.

Syrian refugee boys await approval to enter Jordan, May 4, 2016. (AP Archive)

According to the figures released by al-Dababi, Turkey is followed by Pakistan with 1.5 million refugees and then Lebanon, Iraq, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan.

The latest figures were released on the eve of the UN summit on refugees and migrants to be held on Monday in New York to address the largest displacement of civilians since World War II. 

Following the summit, the UN General Assembly is expected to adopt a series of obligations to protect refugees’ and migrants’ rights and provide support to host countries. If these obligations are adopted, they will become known as the "New York Declaration."

An aerial view shows makeshift shelters and tents where migrants live in what is known as the "Jungle," a sprawling camp in Calais, France, September 7, 2016. (Reuters)

UNHCR highlights South Sudan crisis

A separate report released by the UN refugee agency UNHCR on Friday showed that South Sudan has joined Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia, as countries from which more than one million refugees have fled.

"The number of South Sudanese refugees sheltering in neighbouring countries has this week passed the one million mark," the report said.

Another 1.61 million people are displaced inside the country, it added.

"Five years after independence, this is a very sad milestone," UNHCR spokesman Leo Dobbs told reporters in Geneva.

Neighbouring Uganda, which already shelters 375,000 South Sudanese nationals, warned it was running out of resources and asked for support.

Dobbs linked the increase in the number of South Sudanese refugees to the renewed violence in the country.

In 2013, fighting erupted between soldiers loyal to South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and those backing his former deputy Riek Machar.

South Sudan refugee family arrives at the UNHCR managed refugees reception point at Elegu, within the Amuru District of the northern region near the South Sudan-Uganda border, August 20, 2016. (Reuters)

A peace deal signed in 2015 proved shaky and fresh clashes flared again in the capital, Juba, in July, raising fears that the five-year-old nation could slide back into civil war.

TRTWorld and agencies