The number of people fleeing war or strife fell marginally in 2016 from a record high in 2015, with the lion’s share of those seeking asylum doing so in Germany, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said today.
In a report on broader migration trends, the OECD said that the biggest exodus of asylum-seekers was from war-ravaged Syria, followed by Afghanistan and Iraq.
Asylum request numbers continued to drop in the early months of this year, it added.
For a fourth straight year, Germany registered by far the largest number of asylum applications – 48 per cent of a world total of 1.64 million in 2016.
The United States, where the bulk of asylum applications are from Latin Americans, was a distant second, registering 262,000 asylum applications.
The total number of applications dropped by one per cent from 2015, said the Paris-based OECD, which noted that many of those who arrived in Germany in 2015 filed formal asylum applications in 2016.
The OECD, a think-tank funded by the governments of its 35 member countries, most of them wealthy economies and relatively stable politically, suggested the slight dip in asylum requests in 2016 may be followed by a more pronounced reduction this year.
While OECD countries, primarily in Western Europe, received 1.6 million asylum requests in 2016, Turkey alone was providing temporary protection to another three million Syrians, the organisation said.