Asylum claims from Syria, Iraq and other conflict zones rise in first half 2014

This article on the UNHCR website highlights the growth in numbers of asylum seekers from conflict-stricken parts of the world in early 2014:

A UNHCR report released on Friday shows that the number of people seeking refugee status in industrialized countries continued to climb in the first half of 2014, driven by the wars in Syria and Iraq as well as conflict and instability in countries such as Afghanistan, Eritrea.

UNHCR’s new “Asylum Trends” report, which is based on data received from 44 governments in Europe, North America and parts of the Asia-Pacific, says 330,700 people asked for refugee status in these 44 countries between the start of January and the end of June. The figure marks a rise of 24 per cent from the same period a year earlier, and slightly higher than in the second half of last year (328,100 claims).

The report warned that, based on historical trends showing higher numbers of asylum-seekers in the second half of each year, 2014 could produce as many as 700,000 claims – which would make it the highest level in industrialized countries in 20 years and a level not seen since the 1990s conflict in former Yugoslavia.

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