UNITED NATIONS: The wars in Syria and Iraq, as well as armed conflicts, human rights violations and deteriorating security and humanitarian conditions elsewhere, have pushed the number of people seeking asylum in industrialised countries to the highest level since 1992, a new UN report said on Thursday.
The report “Asylum Trends 2014,” released at the UN refugee agency’s headquarters in Geneva, puts the estimated number of new asylum applications lodged in industrialised countries throughout the year at 866,000 – a 45 per cent increase from 2013, when 596,600 claims were registered.
“Our response has to be just as generous now as it was then – providing access to asylum, resettlement opportunities and other forms of protection for the people fleeing these terrible conflicts,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, putting the figures in historical context.
According to the High Commissioner’s office, which emerged in the wake of the Second World War to help Europeans displaced by that conflict, the number of people applying for refugee status in industrialised countries is just one element in the global picture of forced displacement from conflict and persecution.
Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2015