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NEWS BRIEFS

Asylum system faces challenge

THE OFFICE of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Slovakia pointed out the enormous difference between the number of asylum seekers in Slovakia and the number actually granted asylum status.

Over 11,000 people apply for asylum per year in this country but a very low percentage of those are actually allowed to stay.

Dealing with this discrepancy is the biggest challenge the asylum system in Slovakia faces.

"In 2004, only 15 asylum seekers were granted the status of asylum seeker," said Pierfrancesco Maria Natta, head of the UNHCR Office in Slovakia.

He added that "the great number of disappeared asylum seekers" leaving Slovak asylum camps and heading "westwards" is a major problem, the TASR news agency reported.

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