Cyprus tops asylum requests according to population size
Nicosia, Mar 1 (CNA) - Cyprus, compared to national population size, received the largest number of asylum requests during 2000-2004, with 22 asylum-seekers per 1,000 inhabitants
According to a 2004 report on asylum levels and trends in industrialised countries, released today by the United Nations, the number of asylum-seekers in 2004 was the highest on record for Cyprus.
According to the report, in 50 industrialised countries, the number of asylum requests fell by 22 per cent, from 508,100 in 2003 to 396,400 in 2004, while since 2001 asylum applications have dropped 40 per cent.
In Europe, asylum application levels decreased by 21 per cent, from 396,800 in 2003 to 314,300 in 2004. The 25 European Union countries recorded 19 per cent fewer asylum requests in 2004.
The report says that in Europe as well as in the 25 EU countries, the number of asylum-seekers in 2004 was the lowest since 1997, while in the six non-European industrialised countries, 2004 asylum levels were the lowest since 1986.
France, the third largest asylum-seeker receiving country in 2003, became the main destination country for asylum-seekers in 2004. The United States, which had been the largest asylum-seeker receiving country in 2003, became the second largest recipient country in 2004. The United Kingdom, the second main destination country for asylum-seekers in 2003, fell to third position in 2004.
''Compared to national population size, Cyprus received the largest number of asylum requests during 2000-2004 (22 asylum-seekers per 1,000 inhabitants), followed by Austria (18) and Norway (15). In 2004, Cyprus was the main recipient (12 asylum-seekers per 1,000 inhabitants), followed by Luxembourg (3.5) and Malta (3.1),'' the report says.
For a few countries, including Cyprus, Finland, the Republic of Korea, Malta, Poland and the Slovak Republic, the number of asylum-seekers in 2004 was the highest on record. In most asylum countries, however, the 2004 level was the lowest for many years.
From 2003 to 2004, 29 of the 50 asylum countries reported a decrease in asylum requests, 17 reported an increase, while four countries reported no change. Only four major receiving countries reported an increase in the number of requests, namely Cyprus (124%), France (3%), Poland (17%) and the Slovak Republic (10%).
The Russian Federation continued to be the leading country of origin of asylum applicants in the industrialised countries in 2004, followed by Serbia and Montenegro and China. In Europe, the three leading nationalities of asylum-seekers in 2004 were the Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro and Turkey.