News in Brief 18 December 2015 (AM)

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Syrian refugees arrive across the border into Jordan. Photo: UNHCR/A. Harper

2015 "likely to exceed" records for global forced displacement

2015 is likely to exceed all previous records for global forced displacement, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has warned.

The global refugee total, which a year ago was 19.5 million, had as of mid-2015 passed the 20 million threshold for the first time since 1992.

Almost a million people have crossed the Mediterranean Sea as refugees and migrants so far this year, and conflicts in Syria and elsewhere are continuing to generate what the agency has called "staggering levels of human suffering."

Asylum applications are also up by 78 per cent over the same period in 2014.

And the numbers of internally displaced people jumped by around 2 million to an estimated 34 million.

380,000 children in Mali out of school

More than 380,000 children aged 7 to 15 remain out of school in five regions in northern Mali, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has said.

The northern part of the West African country has experienced insecurity over the past four years.

Over 280 schools, or one in six, in the conflict-affected areas are closed, many of them for the third year in a row.

Fran Equiza, is a UNICEF representative in Bamako.

He spoke on the line form the Malian capital.

"Many of those schools closed were damaged, looted, destroyed or occupied. Violence affects teachers' performance. Violence affects families' and communities' resilience."

Nearly 600 teachers have fled the conflict areas or are no longer reporting to work because of insecurity.

Thousands of Ivorian refugees set to return home after Ebola hiatus

The voluntary repatriation of tens of thousands of Ivorian refugees from Liberia has begun, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has confirmed.

The returns had been interrupted for more than a year by the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa

Over a quarter of the 38,000 Ivorian refugees in Liberian camps have said they wish to return immediately.

Adrian Edwards is a spokesperson for UNHCR.

"UNHCR is helping the refugees on arrival and with reintegration in their homeland. There is income-generation programmes and start-up aid."

The Ivorians had originally fled their country as a result of political violence following presidential elections in November 2010.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.

Duration: 2’31″

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