U.N.: France Heads List for Asylum Seekers

GENEVA (AP) - France has replaced the United States at the top of the list of industrialized countries receiving asylum applications from refugees, a U.N. report said Tuesday.

The overall number of refugees fleeing to Europe and North America in 2004 fell sharply for the third year in a row, reaching the lowest level since 1988, said the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

"The top receiving country in 2004 was France, with an estimated 61,600 asylum seekers," the report said.

The United States, which was the top receiving country in 2003, came in second in 2004 with 52,360.

Britain dropped from second to third, with 40,200, and Germany - the top asylum country in 13 of the past 20 years - was fourth with 35,600, UNHCR said. Canada was fifth with 25,500.

Russians - most of them Chechens - made up the largest nationality seeking asylum in other countries, with 30,100 applicants. They were followed by 22,300 people from Serbia and Montenegro, many of whom were from Kosovo.

In third place were Chinese, with 19,700.
© AP
2005-03-01 11:53:09 GMT.

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