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UNHCR relocates SA refugees annually

Refugees leaving South Africa mostly resettle in America, Canada or Australia.

The UNHCR says that worldwide, it relocates some 100,000 refugees a year or around 700,000 over the same period. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The United Nations' Refugee Agency says while over 7,000 refugees have been pulled out of South Africa and resettled in other countries since 2008 this is a tiny percentage of the global statistics.

The agency says that worldwide it relocates some 100,000 refugees a year or around 700,000 over the same period.

Today has seen fresh reports about the South African figures while questions remain about a group of refugees in KwaZulu-Natal who have taken shelter on a private farm after a camp they were staying at was cleared by the police.

The agency's Tina Ghelli says the outbreak of xenophobic violence in 2008 saw the annual number of refugees fleeing South Africa double.

"We didn't resettle many people from South Africa until 2008 when we had the major xenophobic attacks."

Refugees leaving South Africa are mostly resettled in America, Canada or Australia in a process that takes two or three years.