Germany experienced a leap in asylum claims in 2010, due in large part to an increase in attempted migration from Afghanistan, Serbia, Iran, Macedonia and Somalia. However, more than half of the claims were rejected.
Claims from Macedonia and Serbia rose dramatically
The number of asylum applications in Germany leapt by around 50 percent in 2010 to 41,332 claims, the German interior ministry announced Monday. It's the third year in a row that claims have risen.
The increase was in large part due to a rise in asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Serbia, Iran, Macedonia and Somalia, as well as from Iraq.
However, in the past year only 7,704 people were granted political asylum. That represents just 16 percent of all applicants.
Just 16 percent of claimants were granted political asylum
Another 2,691 people (5.6 percent of the total) were given protection from deportation, often because they were facing torture or the death penalty in their country of origin.
A further 27,255 people had their cases rejected.
Rise in bogus claims
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière insisted that protecting refugees was a priority.
"Political refugees can be confident of finding safe asylum in Germany, if they are recognized as asylum seekers or refugees in accordance with the Geneva Convention" de Maiziere said.
But he added the ministry was seeing an increase in bogus claims from Serbia and Macedonia in particular.
"Such claims were and will be consistently and speedily rejected in order to minimize the length of illegal stay in Germany and to reduce the burden on the public purse," de Maiziere said.
The refugee organization Pro Asyl explained one of the reasons for the rise in asylum seekers was the escalation of the situation in war zones including in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.
The fact that Serbia and Macedonia are also on the list was put down to extreme poverty and social exclusion in those countries, and hardship for the Roma minority.
Author: Joanna Impey (AFP, AP, dpa)
Editor: Rob Turner