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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More