Number of asylum seekers rises in Switzerland

Geneva, Aug 14 (IANS) The number of asylum seekers looking for refuge in Switzerland increased by two percent in July as compared to the previous month of this year, reported the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

The total number of asylum requests were recorded at 3,896 last month — 91 more than in June, SEM said on Thursday adding that while the number of Eritrean and Somalian asylum seekers slightly declined, the number of requests registered by Afghan and Syrian nationals was on the rise, Xinhua reported.

According to figures, 15,769 asylum requests were registered in Switzerland in the first seven months of this year, representing a 20 percent rise compared to the like period last year.

However, this pales in comparison to the total number of asylum seekers arriving in the European Union and in the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), where 425,000 requests were received between January and June 2015.

This represents a 71 percent increase compared to the same period last year, which saw 248,000 recorded asylum requests.

SEM said that in July, most asylum requests registered in the confederation were by Eritreans (2,130 requests), followed by Afghans (254), Syrians (242), Sri Lankans (166), Somalians (149) and Ethiopians (84).

According to official figures, 696 asylum seekers left Switzerland last month, 57 fewer than in June.

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