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RSD applications to UNHCR up slightly in 2011

December 6, 2012

Applications 2011 Trend

The number of asylum-seekers seeking protection through UNHCR RSD operations rose slightly in 2011, with 98,800 applications, up from 96,800 in 2010, according to a UNHCR report.

These figures include both first instance and appeal applications, which is essential to compare trends over time since historically UNHCR combined them in its statistical reports. But many UNHCR field offices are now separating our appeals in statistical report. In 2011, there were 80,100 first instance RSD applications to UNHCR in 2011, and 18,700 appeals.

Second largest RSD operation in the world

In terms of new RSD applications, UNHCR remains the second largest system in the world. South Africa continues to top the list with nearly 107,000, with the United States third with 76,000.

However, UNHCR ranks behind South Africa only if one limits the tally to countries where UNHCR makes RSD decisions independent from the host government.  If one includes countries like Ghana (20,123 new applications) where UNHCR conducts RSD jointly with governments, then UNHCR actually received the most new RSD applications in 2011.

Although only third in new applications filed, the United States was able to make RSD decisions more efficiently than UNHCR or South Africa. In other words, the United States was technically the largest refugee status decision-maker in the world, though not necessarily the largest RSD system.

Largest RSD Systems 2011


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