Political asylum requests up 24% says UNHCR

'Govts must prep their peoples to accept more' says Guterrez

(ANSA) - Geneva, September 26 - Political asylum requests rose 24% in the first semester, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Friday.
    In the first six months of the year, 330,700 people fleeing wars and conflicts in Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, and Syria, have requested political asylum in 44 industrialized nations in America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific area, the refugee agency said in a report.
    The most requests were filed by Syrians (48,400 against 18,900 in the same period last year), followed by Iraqis (21,300), Afghans (19,300) and Eritreans (18,900).
    Over two-thirds of those requests were made in just six countries: Germany (65,700), the United States (52,800), France (29,000), Sweden (28.500), Turkey (27,700) and Italy (24,500). Asylum requests could total 700,000 by the end of the year, a record not seen since the war in the former Yugoslavia in the mid-1990s. "We are clearly in a period of growing conflicts," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.
    "Lawmakers must prepare their peoples...because in the absence of solutions to these conflicts, more and more people will be needing refuge and support in the coming months and years".


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