Number of asylum-seekers declines significantly

The number of asylum-seekers in the industrialized world has continued to decline and is now almost half the level it was a decade ago according to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

Asylum-seekers interviewed in Greece

Asylum-seekers interviewed in Greece

358,800 asylum applications were lodged in industrialized countries last year which was 5 per cent lower that those recorded in 2009.

However, UNHCR says the 2010 figures were nearly half of those registered in 2001, when almost 620,000 asylum applications were made.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres says further study was needed to establish the cause of the decline.

He said it was still not clear if potential asylum seekers were unable to leave their countries of origin or if tougher immigration laws put in place by developed countries were contributing factors.

Within Europe, the largest decline was seen in southern Europe, including Malta, Italy and Greece, where claims fell by 33 per cent compared to 2009.

However, this decline was offset by increases elsewhere, especially in Germany which reported a 49 per cent increase, Sweden 32 per cent and, Denmark 30 per cent.

The United States was the largest asylum recipient for the fifth consecutive year, accounting for one out of every six asylum applications in the industrialized countries covered in the report.

Filed under Today's News.
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