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Beyond Syrians, refugees have been displaced from all over the world

Some 839,000 people left their countries in the first six months of 2015, equivalent to 4,600 people fleeing every day.

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After waiting for days on the shore of Lake Tanganyika on Kayunga Peninsula, Burundian refugees disembark the MV Liemba in Kigoma. From here, they will be transferred to Nyaragusu refugee camp, May 18.

Benjamin Loyseau/UNHCR

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One in 122 people around the world is a displaced person or refugee, according to a United Nations High Commission for Refugees report released Friday.

The report, which looked at the period from January to June 2015, examined the three main categories of displacement: those displaced within their own countries, refugees, and asylum-seekers.

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As of mid-2015, the worldwide total of refugees had passed the 20 million threshold for the first time since 1992, and now stands at 20.2 million. Applications for asylum have also increased 78 percent over the same period in 2014, and the number of people who are internally displaced has increased by 2 million to approximately 34 million people.

The number of new refugees is also rising: 839,000 people left their countries in the first six months of 2015, equivalent to 4,600 people fleeing every day.

"Forced displacement is now profoundly affecting our times. It touches the lives of millions of our fellow human beings – both those forced to flee and those who provide them with shelter and protection," High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said in a statement.

"Never has there been a greater need for tolerance, compassion and solidarity with people who have lost everything," he added.

Some of the largest contributors to these numbers are the ongoing crisis in Syria and the recent crisis in Mali, although they are by no means the only contributing factors; conflicts in Yemen and South Sudan, among other areas, have also given rise to a record high number of refugees. Scroll through the photo reel above for the faces and stories of refugees and displaced people from other nations beyond Syria.

Amnesty International estimates that there are currently approximately 4 million Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war there, a number that continues to grow. In Mali, thousands of people fled the country following the 2012 military coup, but returned after relative stability resumed in 2013. But the political and military situation in the country remains complex and fraught, and UNHCR estimates that nearly 100,000 Malians are still internally displaced.

Another significant trend: fewer refugees are voluntarily choosing to go home than ever before. UNHCR estimates that only 84,000 people have or are choosing to do so in 2015, compared to 107,000 in the same period a year ago.

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This rise in the number of people who are fleeing conflict and choosing to stay in their new chosen homeland puts more pressure on the countries that host them. Turkey is the world's biggest host, with 1.8 million refugees, but Germany is not far behind, having pledged to take in 35,000 refugees, or 75 percent, of the total for the European Union. And Lebanon has the most refugees relative to its population size: 209 refugees for every 1,000 people.


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