Industrialized countries saw a 17-percent increase in asylum applications in the first half of 2011, with most claimants coming from countries with long-standing displacement situations, said a report issued Tuesday by the Geneva-based UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
The report entitled "Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries, First Half 2011" shows that 198,300 asylum applications were lodged in the period between Jan. 1 and June 30, compared to 169,300 in the same period in 2010.
UNHCR projects that 2011 may see 420,000 applications by year's end, the highest total in eight years, as application rates normally peak during the second half of the year.
So far this year, despite major forced displacement crises in West, North and East Africa, overall the impact of these events on application rates in industrialized countries has been limited.
Related increases of asylum claims were observed among Tunisians, Ivorians and Libyans, with 4,600, 3,300 and 2,000 claims respectively.
Of the 44 countries surveyed, the main countries of origin of asylum-seekers remain largely unchanged from previous surveys. Afghanistan continues to top the chart with 15,300 claims.