10/19/11 (AEIN) The number of requests for asylum in foreign countries increased by about seventeen percent during the first half of 2011, according to new statistics from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Nearly 200 thousand people requested asylum worldwide.
A survey conducted by the United Nations determined that asylum requests from three nations recently hit by war or unrest increased compared to the previous year, as people sought to escape the violence. These countries included Libya, Tunisia and Ivory Coast.
The largest quantity of requests came from war-torn Afghanistan. Other top nations included countries in Asia, the Middle East and the Balkans. Most asylum-seekers sought residence in more prosperous and stable nations in Western Europe or North America.
Although the numbers of people who request asylum in distant foreign countries remain significant, far more refugees flee conflict and deprivation in places like Libya or Somalia by traveling to neighboring countries and refugee camps.