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Asylum seekers up after 3 year drop

Highest number of asylum seekers coming from Russia, the Balkans and Turkey.

18 June 2009

ASYLUM seekers have risen in France by 20% in the past year, with the greatest number coming from Russia, the Balkans and Turkey.

Figures from independent public body the Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides (Ofpra), which handles asylum requests, showed following a drop over the past three years, numbers were once again up, with 42,600 applications received last year.

Around 36% were given refugee status, with 82% of refugees being from Iraq.

Immigration Minister Eric Besson yesterday welcomed around 30 Iraqi asylum seekers at the ministry with the help of theAssociation d’entraide aux minorités d’Orient (Aemo), to coincide with the ninth Journée mondiale des réfugiés.

One refugee named as Ahmed, a former manager of several hotels in Bagdad, fled Iraq with his family as he was no longer receiving any salary.

He said today he feels safe in France and “will never be able to thank the French government and Aemo enough” for the help he and his family have received.

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