Asylum figures still falling in industrialised countries, says UNHCR
GENEVA, Nov 16 (UNHCR) - Asylum figures in the industrialised world continue their downward slide, reported the UN refugee agency today as it released its third-quarter statistics on asylum applications in 36 industrialised countries.
The statistics compiled by UNHCR's Population Data Unit covered asylum applications in Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. It showed that 271,700 people applied for asylum during the first nine months of 2004, a 22-percent decrease compared to 349,600 over the same period in 2003.
Between June and September 2004, Europe as a whole saw figures falling by 24 percent compared to the third quarter of 2003. European Union countries registered a 20-percent drop over the same period of comparison.
The 2004 third-quarter statistics also showed that France remained the leading asylum seeker-receiving country since the last quarter of 2003, followed by the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and Austria.
People from the Russian Federation - predominantly Chechens - remained the single largest group of asylum seekers, with 6,963 applications lodged in the third quarter of 2004. They were followed by asylum seekers from Serbia and Montenegro, China, Turkey and Nigeria.