[refugees] While the number of Afghan asylum seekers has declined over the past two years, the number of Iraqis seeking refuge in Norway is increasing. Figures from the Directorate of Foreign Affairs (UDI) show that in 2006, 1002 Iraqi asylum seekers came to this country, against 673 the year before. In comparison, for example, 632 applications came from Somalis and 224 from Afghans in 2006. Preliminary figures for the first four months indicate that the number of Iraqis seeking refuge here this year is even greater than last year.
- We saw an increase from the second half of 2006 and this has persisted in 2007, the Iraqis are now the largest group we have, says department director for asylum at the UDI, Karl Erik Sjøholt.
The UDI has not yet considered it necessary to provide protection to the Iraqis on a general basis, but emphasizes that everyone should receive individual treatment and be assessed based on the situation they are in and where they are from in their home country.
- We always assess the individual case against the place of origin. We are aware that the situation in Iraq is serious, but some areas, such as northern Iraq, are calmer, Sjøholt explains.
The increase in the number of Iraqi asylum seekers to Norway reflects an international trend, the situation in Iraq is now emerging as a major supplier of refugees. According to new figures from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Iraq is one of the reasons for the world's refugee population. . .
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