UNHCR Report Shows Dramatic Rise in Asylum Claims
The UN refugee agency issued a report saying there was a sharp rise in asylum claims in 44 industrialized countries in 2013. driven primarily by the crisis in Syria.
UNHCR's "Asylum Trends 2013" report says 612,700 people applied for asylum in North America, Europe, East Asia and the Pacific in 2013, which is the highest total for any year since 2001.
Afghanistan, which in 2011-2012 was the world's principal country of origin for asylum-seekers, ranked third in terms of new claims behind Syria and the Russian Federation. Among the top-10 countries of origin, six are experiencing violence or conflict – Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Iraq and Pakistan.
For 2013, the biggest increase in asylum seekers by region was in Europe. Some 484,600 people applied for asylum which was an increase of a third from 2012. Germany was the largest single recipient with 109,600 new asylum claims, followed by France with 60,100 and Sweden with 54,300.
Bulgaria ranks second in EU in terms of percentage growth of applications with 6,980 claims mainly of Syrian citizens, which is a 467% increase compared to 2012. Hungary, which recorded the highest percentage increase received 18,570 claims, or by 760% more than in the previous year.
Turkey is currently the biggest refugee-hosting country in Europe due to the Syria crisis and also saw 44,800 asylum claims lodged in 2013, mainly from nationals of Iraq and Afghanistan.
North America received the second highest number of asylum claims, amounting to nearly 98,800 in total, the main country of origin of applicants being China.
Acceptance rates for asylum-seekers arriving in industrialized countries vary widely. For people from Syria, Eritrea, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan, rates are between 62%-95%. Acceptance rates from nationals of the Russian Federation and Serbia are significantly lower at around 28% and 5% respectively.
UNHCR tracks forced displacement globally and issues a number of reports each year showing trends worldwide. The three major components of global forced displacement are internal displacement, refugee numbers, and asylum-seekers.