UN: Asylum Applications Up 17 Percent in 2011

Posted October 18th, 2011 at 11:40 am (UTC-5)
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The United Nations refugee agency says asylum applications have risen 17 percent, with most claims coming from countries with long-standing displacement situations.

In a report released Tuesday, the agency says nearly 200,000 asylum applications were lodged in the first six months of this year, compared with almost 170,000 during the same period in 2010.

It says the top five sources of asylum seekers — Afghanistan, Serbia, China, Iraq and Russia — accounted for nearly one-third of asylum claims submitted in industrialized countries.

The report also refers to major forced displacements this year in North, West and East Africa, citing increases in asylum claims among Tunisians, Ivorians and Libyans. But it says the number of claims made to industrialized countries was less than might have been expected.

The top destination for asylum-seekers was the United States, which had 36,400 applications. France was next with 26,100, followed by Germany with 20,100.

The U.N. refugee agency says there may be 420,000 asylum applications by the end of 2011, the highest total in eight years.