Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Earlier this week, the United Nations Commission for Refugees issued the 2013 Asylum Trends report, which indicates a 28% increase in the number of asylum claims filed in industrialized countries last year. The total number of claims filed was 612,700, making 2103 the second highest year for asylum claims in the past 20 years.
The top five source countries for asylum seekers were Syria, Russia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Serbia. This is the first time Syria has occupied the top spot for producing asylum seekers.
Germany took the top spot as the biggest recipient of asylum claims (109,600) with the United States being bumped to second place (88,400), followed by France, Sweden and Turkey.
Pursuant to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, a successful asylum seeker must demonstrate that he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion by the government or a non-state actor that the government is unable or unwilling to control. Thus, the high level of asylum claims indicates an almost unprecedented level of fear of persecution worldwide -- not an encouraging trend.