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Erik Moberg :

 

2. THE ASYLUM SEEKERS FROM THE MIDDLE AND THE FAR EAST, INTRODUCTION

 

At first it should be noted that the populations in this group of countries are, as shown in Table 3, almost completely Muslim. The one exception is Sri Lanka.

 

 

Table 3: Percentage of Muslims in the countries treated in the Middle and the Far East

 

Country

Muslims in the population,

percentage

Afghanistan

99.7

Iran

99.4

Iraq

99.0

Pakistan

96.3

Syria

92.2

Bangladesh

89.6

Sri Lanka

8.5

 

 

Then we also see, in the repeated Diagram 2, that the dominance of Syria, with regard to asylum seekers, is very clear, but that is not the only way in which that country differs. The migration expansion also starts earlier in Syria than in the other countries. In Syria it starts in 2011 whereas, in the other countries it starts around 2014 (Sri Lanka, with no expansion at all, still being an exception). This being so I will, in the next section, start the real discussion about individual countries with Syria, but before that I will just make a short comment about Sri Lanka with its particular characteristics.

 

 

 

 

Diagram 2 (repeated): Asylum seekers in the EU/EFTA from the Middle and the Far East

 

 

The number of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka is, compared to those from the other countries, quite small, and there are neither any considerable fluctuations during the period considered here. The basic reason for the migration is the ethnic conflict, within the country, between the government, basically representing the Sinhalese majority, and the Tamil people living in the northern and eastern coastal areas of the island. This conflict rose into a horrible civil war 1983-2009 between government forces on the one side and the Tamil Tigers on the other. But even after the end of the war the politics of Sri Lanka remains unstable and shaky. All of this could, of course, be described in much more detail, but the for the purposes actual herethe explanation of the sudden large scale migration of asylum seekers in the EU/EFTAthis is enough. So thereby I leave Sri Lanka in this project.

 

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