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Total refugee applications to UNHCR: 2007

July 24, 2008

Globally, UNHCR RSD grew in number of applications received for four straight years (2003 through 2006), and then declined moderately in 2007.  Government-run RSD systems received slightly more applications in 2007, so that UNHCR RSD accounted for 12 percent of worldwide RSD applications, compared to 15 percent in 2006. UNHCR RSD nevertheless has grown in importance recently; in 2003 it accounted for only 7 percent of global RSD.

In its June “Global Trends” report on 2007 refugee statistics, UNHCR noted that the decline in applications to UNHCR RSD systems occurred “primarily due to the exclusion of Somali asylum-seekers in Kenya who are recognized by UNHCR as refugees on a prima facie basis upon registration.”

As in previous years, UNHCR received more new individual refugee applications than any single government, making it the largest decision-maker on refugee status in the world. In 2007. UNHCR received more than 75,000 applications in 2007, compared to 50,700 received by the United States, which was the largest government decision-maker in RSD.

Individual applications submitted to UNHCR for RSD

2007                                             75,088

2006                                             91,500

2005                                             88,415

2004                                             75,544

2003                                             61,305

2002                                             44,240

2001                                             65,911

2000                                             68,583

1999                                             60,190

1998                                             106,560*

These do not include countries where RSD is conducted jointly by a government and UNHCR. UNHCR reported that 26,000 applications were filed in such systems in 2007, and that these systems have grown steadily over the last five years. In 2003, only 4,900 applications were received by joint UNHCR-government RSD systems.

* This figure includes 50,213 cases filed in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. Because this was a short term and exceptional RSD operation, the 1998 figure appears unusually high.

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