Over 7,000 Indians applied for asylum in US in 2017, says UN report; Afghans made up highest number of refugees last year

United Nations: More than 7,000 people from India applied for asylum in the United States last year, according to a report by the United Nations refugee agency, which said America was the largest recipient of new asylum requests in 2017.

The UN refugee agency said in its annual Global Trends report that 68.5 million people globally were displaced till end 2017. Among them were 16.2 million people who were displaced in 2017 itself, either for the first time or repeatedly — indicating a huge number of people on the move and equivalent to 44,500 people being displaced each day, or a person becoming displaced every two seconds.

File image of the Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar. Reuters.

File image of the Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar. Reuters.

Wars, other forms of violence and persecution forced displacement worldwide to a new high in 2017 for the fifth year in a row, led by the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the war in South Sudan and the flight into Bangladesh from Myanmar of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees. Overwhelmingly, it is developing countries that are most affected, the report said.

In the US, the trend of increasing asylum claims from people from the north of Central America also continued. Salvadorans made up the largest nationality of applicants with 49,500 claims, almost half as much as the 33,600 submitted in 2016.

Asylum claims from Venezuelans increased by 63 percent to 29,900, reflecting the challenging conditions in the country. Other nationalities from which there were more than 5,000 claims in 2017 were Mexico (26,100), China (17,400), Haiti (8,600) and India (7,400). Altogether, refugees from 168 countries applied for asylum, the report said.

According to the UN report, there were 1,97,146 refugees in end 2017 in India and 10,519 asylum-seekers with pending cases. There were about 40,391 asylum-seekers from India at the end of last year, the report said, adding that for the first time since 2013, Syria was not the most common country of origin for new asylum-seekers. The highest number of applicants for asylum were from Afghanistan, who submitted 124,900 claims in 80 different countries.

As in 2016, Turkey received the most claims with 67,400 registered, replacing Germany, which received 16,400 claims compared with 1,27,000 in 2016. In contrast to 2016, Greece was the third most common recipient of claims from Afghans with 7,500, followed by France (6,600) and India (4,500). Refugees originating from Myanmar represented the fourth-largest population group by country of origin, more than doubling in number from less than half a million to 1.2 million by the end of 2017.

Bangladesh hosted the majority of refugees from Myanmar (932,200) at the end of the year. Other countries with sizable populations of Myanmar refugees were Thailand (100,000), Malaysia (98,000) and India (18,100).

The report said that refugees who fled their countries to escape conflict and persecution accounted for 25.4 million of the 68.5 million. This is 2.9 million more than in 2016, also the biggest increase the UN High Council for Refugees has seen in a single year.

Asylum-seekers still awaiting the outcome of their claims to refugee status till 31 December, 2017, rose by around 3,00,000 to 3.1 million. People displaced in their own country accounted for 40 million of the total, marginally fewer than the 40.3 million in 2016.

"We are at a watershed, where success in managing forced displacement globally requires a new and far more comprehensive approach so that countries and communities are not left dealing with this alone,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. "But there is reason for some hope. Fourteen countries are already pioneering a new blueprint for responding to refugee situations, and in a matter of months, a new Global Compact on Refugees will be ready for adoption by the UN General Assembly."


Updated Date: Jun 20, 2018 10:49 AM

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