War in Syria contributes to increase in asylum claims

by zoejardiniere

22.03.2013. Violence around the world, including in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, contributed an 8% increase in asylum applications in industrialized countries during 2012, according to UNHCR’s report on asylum trends in 44 industrialised countries.

The sharpest rise refers to asylum requests from Syrians who are now the second largest group of asylum seekers in the 44 industrialised countries, following Afghanistan, and numbering 24,800, 6% of the total.

Within the EU, 21,427 asylum applications by Syrians were registered in 2012. An increase is reported in every country except Greece. Although there was an increase in irregular arrivals of Syrians in Greece, asylum applications by Syrians remained low in the country, where serious concerns remain regarding the difficulties faced by refugees in accessing asylum procedures.

In total, 479,300 asylum applications were made in the 44 industrialised countries in 2012, out of which 296,700 were made in the 27 EU Member States, a 7% increase on 2011 for the EU. Whilst applications increased by 38% in the Nordic states and especially Sweden, in contrast applications decreased by 27% in the Southern European states. Italy in particular recorded a drop in applications of more than a half, receiving 15,700. This decrease is attributed to a reduction numbers of North African asylum seekers arriving by boat.

Within Europe, Germany received the highest number of asylum applications, with 64,500, second globally after the United States. France and Sweden followed, with 54,900 and 43,900 applications respectively. When looking at numbers of asylum seekers in industrialised countries in relation to population, however, Malta receives the most (21.7 per 1,000), followed by Sweden, Liechtenstein, Norway and Cyprus.