Ger­many faces 1.5m asy­lum claims this year - re­port

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

The num­ber of peo­ple seek­ing asy­lum in Ger­many this year will be as high as 1.5 mil­lion - al­most dou­ble the pre­vi­ous es­ti­mate, Ger­man media re­port.

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment has not con­firmed the new es­ti­mate, which comes from an in­ter­nal of­fi­cial re­port cited by pop­u­lar daily Bild.

The re­port warns that ser­vices help­ing refugees will not be able to cope.

Sep­a­rately, a cen­treright re­gional min­is­ter put the ex­pected to­tal at 1.21.5 mil­lion for this year.

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment pre­vi­ously es­ti­mated the num­ber of asy­lum claims this year to reach 800,000 to one mil­lion in to­tal.

Many are refugees flee­ing the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, but there are also many eco­nomic mi­grants from the Balkans, Asia and Africa.

UN High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees An­to­nio Guter­res has warned that Europe, in deal­ing with the mi­gra­tion cri­sis, is en­gaged in a “bat­tle of com­pas­sion ver­sus fear, and of tol­er­ance ver­sus xeno­pho­bia”.

Speak­ing in Geneva, he said the world was fac­ing the high­est lev­els of forced dis­place­ment in recorded history and the prin­ci­ple of asy­lum must re­main sacro­sanct.

He urged Europe to de­fend “its found­ing val­ues of tol­er­ance and open­ness by wel­com­ing refugees of all re­li­gions”.

The lead­ers of Hungary and Slo­vakia have said the in­flux of Mus­lims is a chal­lenge to Europe’s “Chris­tian” iden­tity.

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