INTERNATIONAL

Over 68.5mn displaced worldwide: UN official

Tripoli, June 20: The number of displaced people around the world has increased to over 68 million, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has said. “The number of displaced people is alarming and not good. The number has reached 68.5 million around the world because of the intensification of conflicts, violence and wars, constantly forcing people out of their troubled countries,” Grandi told a press conference here after a two-day visit to inspect immigrants centres and camps.

The UN official pointed out that 58 per cent of the displaced were from poor and developing countries, adding that the number of migrants reaching Europe during the first half of this year has decreased. “Countries that host the largest number of refugees, especially those that do not have adequate resources to shoulder the costs of hosting them, should get help and cooperation in sharing the burden under joint international efforts,” he said, adding that closing borders and ports is “not a solution to the risk of rising immigration flows”.

Italian authorities closed its ports earlier this month and refused to receive a ship belonging to an international organisation with 600 immigrants on board, who were rescued in the Mediterranean. Spain agreed to receive these immigrants. Grandi said international pledges to resettle 25,000 illegal migrants from Libya were “moving slowly”. Libya is a preferred point of departure for illegal immigrants crossing the Mediterranean towards Europe. (IANS)