The UN refugee agency on Tuesday welcomed a new stateless determination procedure that has just come into effect in the United Kingdom and said it was a "landmark step".
UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming said the procedure, which came into force at the weekend, "allows stateless people, currently living on the margins of society and in legal limbo, a route to be formally recognized as stateless and to legalize their presence in the UK". Speaking to journalists in Geneva, she added that "as such, it is a landmark step".
The new procedure is also a positive example to other countries that are parties to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons but which have not taken steps to implement the Convention by establishing a statelessness determination procedure and a protection status for stateless people. […]
The UN refugee agency on Thursday announced that new and old conflicts, including those in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, contributed to an eight per cent increase in asylum applications in industrialized countries during 2012, with the sharpest rise seen in asylum requests from Syrians. Some 479,300 claims were registered across the 44 countries surveyed in UNHCR's Asylum Trends 2012 report, released today. This is the highest annual total since 2003, continuing a trend of increases evident in every year but one, since 2006.
"Wars are driving more and more people to seek asylum", said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. "And this makes upholding the international system of asylum more critical than ever. At a time of conflict, I urge countries to keep their borders open for people fleeing for their lives". […]
UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres on Monday hailed Turkey for its assistance and policy towards tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, including the launch of a government operation to register refugees in urban areas. Previously, official Turkish government figures only included the 186,000 refugees hosted in 17 state-run camps. But with growing numbers of Syrians seeking assistance in towns and cities, the government recently decided to include urban refugees.
Some 40,000 refugees in urban areas have been registered to date under the new policy with a further 30,000 waiting for appointments to register. Guterres, who is in Turkey on a three day visit, called the new urban refugee registration system "innovative and an example of best practices." […]