Syrian migrants heading to Europe (illustration)
Syrian migrants heading to Europe (illustration)Stoyan Nenov, Reuters

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday issued a report, revealing that the number of people forcibly displaced around the world has "far surpassed" a record 60 million this past year.

No less than 20.2 million people fleeing war zones and persecution were among the number, signifying the highest such figure since 1992, reports Reuters. Another 34 million were internally displaced within their own countries by mid-year.

There are 2.5 million asylum requests pending, and the US, Germany and Russia received the lion's share of the one million new asylum claims from the first half of the year.

"2015 is on track to see worldwide forced displacement exceeding 60 million for the first time - 1 in every 122 humans is today someone who has been forced to flee their homes," the report said.

Yemen led in terms of newly internally displaced persons at 933,500, following the launch of a brutal civil war in March instigated by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

The report is based on official figures from mid-year and uses those numbers to estimate the global total. The figures came before the massive wave of Middle Eastern migrants crossing into Europe, which peaked in October.

Syria's internecine civil war remains the main cause of displacement, with over 4.2 million Syrians having left the country and another 7.6 million displaced within the war torn state as of mid-year. Ukraine also contributed to the inflated figures of displaced people in its conflict with Russian separatists.

UNHRC's report did not paint a rosy picture regarding the chances of a quick fix to the displacement, as voluntary returns by which refugees safely go back home is at the lowest level in recent history - just 84,000 people returned by mid-year.

"In effect, if you become a refugee today your chances of going home are lower than at any time in more than 30 years," said the report.