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refugees 1 246Top 10 facts about refugees and asylum seekers 

From an article by the Refugee Council August 2016

The Refugee Council recently published some myth-busting facts about refugees and asylum-seekers based on latest available statistics.

Here are the top 10:

  1. The world is in the grip of one of the greatest refugee crisis ever. Over 65 million people around the globe have been forced to flee from their homes – that’s like the entire British population having to leave.
  2. It’s poor countries, not rich, western countries, who look after the vast majority of the world’s refugees. The UN’s Refugee Agency estimates that 86% of the world’s refugees are sheltered by developing countries. Most refugees just move from one poor country to another. This summer, over a 5 week period, over 80,000 South Sudanese refugees fled to Uganda.
  3. The dreadful scenes we’re seeing in the Mediterranean and across Europe are a symptom of this wider, global crisis. So far this year, over 268,000 people have arrived in Europe via sea. Around half are women and children. 
  4. The countries on Europe’s borders – Greece and Italy – are struggling to cope with the numbers of desperate people arriving. In September last year, European countries agreed to relocate 160,000 refugees away from Greece and Italy to help ease the pressure. 11 months on fewer than 4,000 refugees have been relocated. Britain has refused to help at all.
  5. Given the world is in the grip of the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War, comparatively few people are able to make it to Britain in their search for safety. So far in 2016, 598,420 people have sought safety in Europe; around 156,000 more than had asked for protection during the same time period last year. Yet in the first half of this year, Britain received just 19,978 asylum applications, including dependants.
  6. Britain is not Europe’s top recipient of asylum applications. Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Greece and Austria all receive significantly more applications than we do. Britain has received just 3% of all asylum claims made in the EU so far in 2016.
  7. Britain offers no asylum visa. In fact, there are very few, legal ways for refugees to safely escape their country and claim asylum in another country. The truth is, when war breaks out, countries like Britain often close down refugees’ legal escape routes. Before the Syrian conflict broke out, only around a quarter of applications for travel visas from Syrians were refused. In the last twelve months, this has increased to over 37%.
  8. Refugees don’t place their lives in smugglers’ hands because they want to. They do it because they often have no other choice. This lack of safe and legal routes for refugees to reach safety and claim asylum has deadly results. In 2015, 3,771 men, women and children lost their lives during their desperate attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Every death was a tragedy. So far in 2016, 3,166 more people have died.
  9. World events often correlate directly with asylum applications. On-going unrest in the Middle East and South Sudan and a sustained wave of people fleeing tyranny in Eritrea led to rises in applications from those nationalities. The top 5 countries of origin of people applying for asylum in Britain are: Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Eritrea, Afghanistan, (Syria 6th).
  10. Asylum seekers make up a tiny proportion of new arrivals in Britain. Today’s statistics show that 633,000 people arrived in Britain in the year to March 2016 – asylum seekers coming to Britain escaping persecution made up just 7% of that figure. Of course, not all asylum seekers will be granted permission to stay in Britain.

Those are the top 10. The Refugee Council has also published a further 10 facts.

Find out more here.

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The Refugee Council, 20/09/2016

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