"The Recent Flow of Asylum-Seekers from Georgia to Poland" by Jenny Thomsen

by Jenny Thomsen

In 2009 Poland witnessed an exceptionally large number of Georgian citizens applying for asylum. From April to November 2009, approximately 4,000 Georgian citizens have crossed the Polish border with the aim of applying for asylum. This number is astonishing in comparison with previous years when only approximately 400 applications were received in the entire period between 2000 and 2008. In parallel, there has been an increase of asylum-seekers from Georgia in other European Union countries, with about 2,000 applications in Germany and 2,000 in the Baltic States, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and Austria together. Some of these people initially arrived in Poland and have thereafter disappeared from the asylum camps while their asylum application was still in process. Given that Georgia’s total population is about four and a half million inhabitants this number is extraordinarily high. The number of Georgian asylum-seekers in Poland has now even exceeded the number of persons from Chechnya seeking asylum.

Out of the approximately 4,000 Georgian citizens applying for asylum between April and November, about 60% were persons aged 18-34. Children up to 13 years old constituted roughly a fifth of the asylum-seekers and people aged 35-64 made up about the same number. Males represented nearly two thirds and particularly young males between 18-34 were overrepresented, constituting around 40%. The flow of Georgian citizens to Poland peaked in July and August with 1,038 respectively 1,371 Georgian asylum-seekers. In September, the number had decreased to 317, in October to 205 and in November further to 143. The large majority of the asylum-seekers from Georgia (about 90%) are reported to be Yezidi-Kurds, generally poorly educated and sometimes even illiterate. The remaining part is reportedly ethnic Georgians, Armenians and Azeris.

The report was published by the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) in December 2009. >> read the full report


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