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A group of 44 rich nations received 866,000 asylum applications last year, according to new UN statistics. Sweden topped the list in relation to its population size. At 173,000, Germany received the most asylum bids.
A group of 44 rich nations received 866,000 asylum-seeker applications last year, according to new UN statistics. Sweden topped the list in relation to its population size. At 173,000, Germany received the most asylum bids.
The overall figure was the highest attributed to the 44 nations since 1992 but remains still relatively low compared to refugee numbers in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
The UN refugee statistical summary for 2014 released Thursday showed a 45 percent increase in asylum applications lodged in 44 rich, industrialized nations.
Compared to 596,000 lodged in 2013, the total climbed to 866,000 last year, said the agency, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
People fleeing war-torn Syria lodged 150,000 applications. The second and third largest groups overall comprised 68,700 asylum-seekers from Iraq and 68,000 from Afghanistan.
They were followed by applicants from Serbia, Kosovo and Eritrea.
Sweden highest per capita intake
In relation to a recipient country's population size, Sweden was highest, processing 75,100 applications, mostly from Syria and Eritrea.
Next placed on population size was Malta, followed by Luxembourg, Switzerland and Montenegro.
In absolute numbers, Germany topped list by receiving 173,000 asylum applications, followed by the USA with 121,000, and then Mexico.
Turkey, which already accommodates 1.5 million Syrian refugees, last year received 87,800 fresh applications for asylum, mostly from Iraqis.
The group of 44 also includes Canada, Australia and Japan.
Needs great, says Guterres
UN commissioner Antonio Guterres said the current needs of refugees were just as great as during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
He urged all countries to ensure access to asylum, to provide resettlement programs and other forms of protection.
In a reference to last year's conflict over Ukraine, the UNHCR cited methodical reasons for not including Russia in its statistical summary.
The UNHCR did however cite 265,000 requests for temporary asylum and 5,800 applications for refugee status in Russia.
Simultaneously, 15,700 Ukrainian nationals had filed applications for asylum in the 44 industrial nations.
Funding debate in Germany
Interior ministers of Germany's 16 regional states attending a conference in Kiel on ways to integrate refugees have called on the federal government to provide more resources under Germany's complicated system of funding and share responsibilities.
Conference host, Stefan Studt, the interior minister of Germany's northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein, said measures ranging from introductory German language courses to medical care were needed in a coordinated fashion.
Bavaria's integration minister Emilia Müller said this year Germany was likely to receive significantly more than the 300,000 asylum-seekers forecast by the federal government.
"The federal government must readjust its prognosis to fit reality," Müller said.
In addition to language courses, she demanded custom-fit projects to provide social welfare housing for asylum-seekers.
ipj/rc (epd, KNA, dpa)