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26188: (news) Chamberlain: Asylum requests to West from Haiti rise (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

    GENEVA, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Asylum requests in the West fell nearly a
fifth to 156,200 in the first half of 2005 from the same period a year
before, extending a 3-year slide, but numbers from Iraq and Haiti rose, the
United Nations said on Tuesday.
     France was the largest single destination for asylum seekers
worldwide, with a steady 27,400 applicants, followed by the United States,
with eight percent fewer requests at 25,400, according to the U.N. High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
     Britain and Germany followed.
     Across the 24 European Union states covered by the report -- Italy's
figures arrive too late -- the drop in requests was 17 percent compared
with the first six months of 2004, and 30 percent compared with two years
     Serbia and Montenegro, which includes Kosovo, was the leading country
of origin with 10,800 applicants, followed by China and Russia, including
the breakaway region of Chechnya.
     Eight of the top 10 countries of origin showed a decline in
asylum-seekers, with the exception of Iraq and Haiti, the UNHCR said.
     "It is pretty much across the board, this decline in asylum
applications in industrialised countries," UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told
     A lack of security in Iraq and Haiti appeared to have been a factor in
pushing requests up 31 and 20 percent to 5,700 and 5,300, respectively, he
     UNHCR officials attribute the decline in asylum-seekers since 2002 to
two factors -- the end of the exodus from Afghanistan, once the main
source, and tighter asylum rules imposed by Western countries.
     "Measures to tighten access to asylum have had an impact," Redmond