News / Middle East

Syria Tops List Of Asylum Seekers in Industrialized Countries

FILE - Asylum seekers stand outside an accommodation at a refugee holding center in the town of Bad Belzig some 135 km (84 miles) southwest of Berlin.
FILE - Asylum seekers stand outside an accommodation at a refugee holding center in the town of Bad Belzig some 135 km (84 miles) southwest of Berlin.
Lisa Schlein
— A new report finds that Syria is churning out the largest number of people seeking asylum in industrialized countries. The U.N. refugee agency's just-released report on asylum trends in 2013 shows a sharp rise in asylum claims in 44 industrialized countries last year.
 
The report says nearly 613,000 people lodged claims for asylum in North America, Europe, East Asia and the Pacific last year. This is the highest total for any year since 2001.
 
The UNHCR said this sharp rise in asylum seekers is being driven primarily by the crisis in Syria.
 
That country now tops the list as the world's main origin for asylum-seekers, bumping Afghanistan into second position, with Russia in third place. 
 
The director of UNHCR's Division of International Protection, Volker Turk, called Syria an international game changer. He said the number of Syrian asylum seekers shows how that country is affecting other regions and countries in the industrialized world, although they are far removed from the crisis in the Middle East.
 
"Last year, I was in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt. And it is clear that the longer that people are in displacement in often very difficult situations in the neighboring countries, the more you will see that desperation drives them to get on with their lives, to reunite with family members in other countries and to find ways and means to get out of an often very difficult situation," said Turk.
 
The report finds that six of the top 10 countries of origin, Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Iraq and Pakistan, are experiencing violence or conflict. It notes the 38 countries in Europe attracted the biggest increase in asylum claims - nearly 485,000. Germany received the largest number, followed by France and Sweden.
 
The report says North America received the second highest number of asylum claims, amounting to nearly 99,000. It says the United States is second only to Germany in the number of applications received.
 
Turk said the numbers of asylum seekers in this year's report clearly reflects what is happening in the world today.
 
"You will see that the numbers in relation to Central African Republic nationals seeking asylum is not yet reflected in these numbers, neither is South Sudanese.  But, as we could see with Syrians, there may well be at some stage. The longer a conflict lasts, you may see the ripple effects of current crises that have not yet had an impact on the industrialized world. The longer these crises last, they may well have an impact on the industrialized world," said Turk. 
 
The report says the acceptance rate of asylum seekers - those who are recognized as refugees or are given temporary international protection - varies widely. It says they tend to be higher among people fleeing conflict.
 
For example, it notes acceptance rates for people from Syria, Eritrea, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan are between 62 percent and 95 percent.  On the other hand, acceptance rates from nationals of the Russian Federation, most of whom are Chechens, and Serbia and Kosovo are significantly lower. These countries, which are not at war, have an acceptance rate of around 28 percent and 5 percent respectively.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid