Madrid (Agenzia Fides) - The wars in Syria and Iraq, as well as armed conflicts, human rights violations and deteriorating security and humanitarian conditions in other countries, pushed the number of asylum applications in industrialized countries to a 22-year high last year, according to a report just released by the UNHCR.
The "Asylum Trends 2014" report puts the estimated number of new asylum applications lodged in industrialized countries throughout the year at 866,000, a 45 per cent increase from 2013, when 596,600 claims were registered. The 2014 figure is the highest since 1992, at the beginning of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The note sent to Fides reports that Syrians were by far the largest group among those seeking asylum in 2014, with almost 150,000 applications.
Iraqis accounted for 68,700 applications, almost double the number in 2013. Afghans were the third largest group, with almost 60,000 applications, followed by citizens of Serbia (and Kosovo) and Eritreans.
The industrialized country receiving the largest number of asylum-seekers in 2014 was Germany, with more than 173,000 applications. The United States received an estimated 121,200 asylum claims, Turkey 87,800, Sweden 75,100, Italy 63.700.
In Spain, 5,941 people applied for international protection in 2014, an increase of 31.7% compared to 2013, when 4,513 requests were registered.
Asylum seekers mainly come from Syria (1,680) and Ukraine (942), followed by Mali (620), Algeria (309) and Palestine (209). (CE) (Agenzia Fides 31/03/2015)