News / Middle East

Syrian Conflict Boosts Number Of Asylum Claims in Industrialized Countries

SYRIA-CRISIS/REFUGEESSYRIA-CRISIS/REFUGEES
x
SYRIA-CRISIS/REFUGEES
SYRIA-CRISIS/REFUGEES
Lisa Schlein
A new report finds asylum claims in 44 industrialized countries rose sharply last year due in large part to the ongoing Syrian conflict.  The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) reports nearly one-half million claims were registered in 2012, the highest annual total since 2003.  

The U.N. refugee agency reports new and old conflicts last year contributed to an 8 percent increase in asylum applications in 44 industrialized countries.  Afghanistan tops the list of asylum seekers with 36,600 claims with Syria close behind.

But U.N. officials call the number of people seeking asylum in the industrialized countries a tempest in a teapot.  UNHCR chief statistician Tarek Abou Chabake says four out of five refugees remain within their own region and never reach the industrialized countries.

“An example of Syria is the best example where most refugees actually have remained in the countries neighboring Syria and have not crossed borders into Europe or the U.S. or otherwise," said Chabak. "So, the evidence shows and it has been fairly consistent over the last few years that most people actually remain within, at least the continent they are fleeing from and in most cases within neighboring countries.”  

The UNHCR reports more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees fled into Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq with 190,000 people fleeing Mali into neighboring Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso and 400,000 Congolese seeking refuge in neighboring African countries.  

The report says Europe, mainly Germany, France and Sweden, received the most claims for asylum in 2012.  But it says the single largest recipient of asylum requests overall was the United States, with most coming from Mexico, El Salvador and China.

UNHCR Director for the Division of International Protection, Volker Turk, says many industrialized countries profess their commitment to asylum.  But, the truth, he says, is that many of these same governments are adopting an array of measures to deter arrivals from gaining access to the asylum system.

“In the last two decades, states have adopted a lot of measures that are not necessarily the ones opening border," said Turk. "One of the problems that we face generally is that it leads to a de facto criminalization of people trying to enter because they do not have a visa.  They use smugglers at times.  They try to enter “illegally.”  

U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres says wars are driving more and more people to seek asylum.  He says this makes it ever more critical for nations to uphold the international system of asylum.  He is urging countries to keep their borders open for people fleeing for their lives.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid