Five Macau residents granted asylum abroad


At least five people from Macau were granted asylum abroad in 2015, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) latest “Global Trends Report.”
The report, which is compiled from government data, says that five Macau-based individuals were granted refugee status last year, having proven that their safety would be jeopardized should they return to the MSAR. Twenty-four similar cases are still undergoing review.
No data was available on the number of refugees who were granted asylum in Macau in 2015, though the report indicated that there were seven pending cases at the end of 2015.
Meanwhile, refugees from Hong Kong living in other locations numbered 33 at the end of 2015, with 79 pending cases. Mainland China had about 212,000 refugees abroad and more than 57,000 pending cases at the end of the year.
For those seeking shelter in mainland China and Hong Kong, there were more than 300,000 and 133 people, respectively, at end-2015. Hong Kong is reviewing another 2,315 pending applications.
The UN report is subjective as it relies on government data, based on individual countries’ definitions and methods of data collection. UNHCR said the “origin” of a person seeking asylum may be based on nationality, area of birth or area of residence, depending on how each government measures the number of people.
UNHCR added that the number of asylum seekers in Macau, as well as those granted refugee status, have remained in the single digits since 2010. The main countries of origin for those seeking refuge in Macau are Syria, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Cameroon.
Asylum seekers are typically individuals who have left their home country as political refugees to seek protection in another location. They often believe that their area of residence is unable to afford them the same protection that they could obtain elsewhere.
According to the South China Morning Post, scholars say that the number of asylum seekers from Hong Kong – which has increased slightly – may be a reaction to civil unrest in the city, the presence of organized crime or the actions of the mainland government in recent years.
In 2011, UNHCR announced a new record of 42.5 million forcibly displaced people around the world. The number has since risen sharply each year and was around 65.3 million at the end of 2015.
The UN Refugee Agency said earlier this year that the current number of displaced people is the highest ever recorded. DB

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