Annual UNHCR figures show continuing climb in number of uprooted

"UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres expressed concern Tuesday about the growing number of refugees worldwide after an annual survey said there were 11.4 million refugees and 26 million others displaced internally by conflict or persecution at the end of 2007.

"After a five-year decline in the number of refugees between 2001 and 2005, we have now seen two years of increases, and that's a concern," Guterres said in London, announcing the results of UNHCR's annual Global Trends report after kicking off activities in Trafalgar Square to mark World Refugee Day on June 20.

"We are now faced with a complex mix of global challenges that could threaten even more forced displacement in the future. They range from multiple new conflict-related emergencies in world hotspots to bad governance, climate-induced environmental degradation that increases competition for scarce resources, and extreme price hikes that have hit the poor the hardest and are generating instability in many places."