NEWS

Sudden fall in asylum recognition

Less than 0.5 percent of all immigrants seeking asylum in Greece this year have been granted refugee status, the United Nations refugee agency complained yesterday, noting that the recognition rate for Iraqi asylum-seekers in Greece is almost 100 times lower than the EU average. «Although on the face of it Greece has one of the most liberal asylum systems in Europe, its current recognition rate ranks as one of the lowest, despite the fact that the main groups of asylum-seekers come from countries that are well-known producers of refugees, such as Iraq and Afghanistan,» Kris Janowski, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement from Geneva. He said there had been an «extraordinary» drop in the number of asylum-seekers being recognized in Greece – from 11.2 percent in 2001 to 0.4 percent this year. The average European Union recognition rate for last year was 15.8 percent. Janowski said Greece’s recognition rate for the largest group of asylum-seekers, Iraqis, was nearly 100 times below the EU average.