Populations and Population Movements

Populations and Population Movements
▪ 1995


       World's 25 Most Populous Urban AreasAt midyear 1994, world population stood at 5,607,000,000, according to estimates prepared by the Population Reference Bureau. (See Table (World's 25 Most Populous Urban Areas).)The 1994 figure was 600 million higher than in 1987 and represented an increase of about 90 million over the previous year. The annual rate of increase declined to about 1.6% in 1994 from 1.64 in 1993, the result of birthrate declines in both less developed and industrialized nations. Each day world population increased by 245,000: 386,000 births and 141,000 deaths. Over 80% of the population growth in industrialized countries occurred in the United States. Data from recent censuses in 20 countries were reported to the United Nations in 1994.

      Controlling population growth in the less developed countries (LDCs) was a major concern at the International Conference on Population and Development, sponsored by the UN in Cairo in September. (See Sidebar (REFUGEES: The Cairo Conference ).) Worldwide, 57% of married couples reportedly used contraceptive methods of some type in 1994. Fully 49% were using a "modern" method such as clinically supplied contraceptives or sterilization. In LDCs 54% were practicing some form of family planning, and 48% were using a modern one. When China is excluded, however, only 34% of LDCs were using a modern method, the figure dropping to a low of 11% in sub-Saharan Africa.

      Worldwide, 33% of the population was below the age of 15 in 1994, but the figure was 39% in LDCs besides China. In the more developed countries (MDCs), 20% were below age 15, a figure that dropped as low as 16% in Germany. Only 4% of the population in LDCs was over the age of 65, compared with 13% in the MDCs. Nearly half—43%—of world population in 1994 lived in urban areas. In the LDCs 35% of the population was classified as urban, although this was still low when compared with 74% in the MDCs. Among the world's least urbanized countries was Burundi, with only 6% urban in 1994.

Less Developed Countries.
      LDCs accounted for an ever larger share of world population growth in 1994. Of the 90 million people added annually, about 97% were in the world's poorer nations. Women in LDCs bore an average of about 3.6 children during their lifetime, slightly more than double that of the MDCs. In LDCs excluding the large statistical effect of China's 1.2 billion population, women averaged 4.2 children each. This was far from the "two-child family" essential to slowing population growth to zero and stabilizing world population size. Worldwide, life expectancy at birth was 63 years for males and 67 for females. In MDCs the same figures were 71 and 78 and in LDCs 61 and 64, respectively. The 1994 world infant mortality rate stood at 63 infant deaths per 1,000 live births—10 in the MDCs and 69 in the LDCs.

      Birthrates were beginning to decline in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time in history. Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data reported more drops in the total fertility rate (TFR). The TFR is the average number of children a woman would bear during her lifetime, assuming that the rate of childbearing in a given year remains constant. In Ghana the TFR fell to 5.5, from 6.0 previously, and Kenya's remarkable decrease continued, to 5.4 from about 8.0 in the 1980s. Botswana, prewar Rwanda, and Zimbabwe, among others, also reported drops. Nonetheless, new UN projections, released for the Cairo conference, showed that the population of Africa was expected to rise from 708 million in 1994 to 2.1 billion by 2050. Even this level of growth would occur only if the TFR dropped to about two children per woman by about 2040. In 1994 women in Africa still averaged about three times that number. In 1994 life expectancy was only 53 years for males and 56 for females in Africa, and the annual population growth rate was 2.9%.

      Latin America's population stood at 470 million in 1994, with an annual growth rate of 2%. The TFR in this region remained a comparatively modest 3.2. The TFR in Latin America ranged from 5.4 in Guatemala to 1.8 in Cuba. Life expectancy stood at 65 for males and 71 for females in 1994.

      Asia's population grew from 3.3 billion in 1993 to 3.4 billion in 1994, although it had the lowest growth rate of the less developed regions at 1.7%. Excluding China, however, the growth rate was 2%, the same as Latin America's. China's population, the world's largest, was 1,192,000,000; India was second with 912 million. China's birthrate remained at a low 18 births per 1,000 population, and its TFR was about 2 children per woman. India's TFR fell to 3.6, something of a milestone since fertility decline there was thought to have stalled closer to four children per woman. Life expectancy in Asia stood at 63 for males and 66 for females.

      A number of countries—notably LDCs with low birthrates—were becoming concerned about shifts in the number of new labour-force entrants and aging populations. The East-West Center's Program on Population reported on such concerns among the "Asian tigers" as well; South Korea was said to be reducing public support for family-planning services, Taiwan now wished to raise its TFR from 1.7 to 2.1, Thailand was beginning to look at new policies in the light of rapid birthrate decline, and Singapore had instituted programs to support couples with more than two children.

More Developed Countries.
      By 1994 Europe, with an annual growth rate of only 0.1%, had virtually reached zero population growth. In 1994 many of the republics of the former Soviet Union, including Russia's 148 million, were reclassified as European by the UN, raising Europe's population to 728 million. Fertility continued to plunge in Eastern Europe to the point where Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine now had natural decrease, or more deaths annually than births. According to data from Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union, Italy once again had the world's lowest TFR, 1.21, reclaiming that distinction from Spain, which had 1.24. Birthrates were also declining in France, with a TFR of 1.65, and in Ireland, with 2.03. Life expectancy in Europe stood at a high 69 for males and 77 for females, although the average was reduced by the addition of former republics of the Soviet Union to this region. Japan's life expectancy continued to set records at 76 for males and 82 for females.

United States.
      The population of the U.S. reached 260,514,000 on May 1, 1994, up from 257,790,000 a year earlier. This represented an increase of 2,724,000, or 1.06%. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported that during the 12 months ended in March 1994, natural increase—births minus deaths—amounted to 1,746,000 (4,040,000 births and 2,294,000 deaths). The birthrate dropped to 15.6 births per 1,000 population, compared with 15.9 in the 12 months ended in March 1993. Preliminary estimates indicated that the U.S. TFR declined to 2.03 in 1993 from 2.08 in 1992 as the baby boomlet of the late 1980s and early 1990s had peaked. This was a significant trend because, were it not for immigration, a TFR below 2.0—the two-child family—would eventually result in population decline.

       demographyThe age-adjusted death rate for the 12-month period ended February 1994 was 4% higher than for the same period in 1993, a fact attributed to more deaths associated with influenza outbreaks. The age-adjusted rate was 519.9 per 100,000 population, up from 501.5 for the same period one year earlier. The infant mortality rate for the period ended in March was 8.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, compared with 8.3 a year earlier. The NCHS reported that in 1992 life expectancy at birth rose to a new high, 75.7 years—79 for females and 72.3 for males. Life expectancy for white females approached 80 years, at 79.7, up from 79.6 a year earlier. Black males had a life expectancy of only 65.5 years in 1992. The 15 major causes of death (See Table (demography)) accounted for 85% of all deaths in the year ended in February 1994, slightly less than one year earlier.

      There were 2,329,000 marriages in the U.S. in the 12-month period ended in February 1994, down from 2,353,000 one year earlier. The marriage rate was 9 per 1,000 population, down from 9.2 in the previous 12-month period. The number of divorces dropped to 1,182,000 from 1,206,000 for the same two periods. A total of 880,014 immigrants were registered in 1993, compared with 810,635 in 1992. Including some remaining legalizations of illegals under immigration law, total fiscal year 1993 immigration amounted to 904,292. In 1994 immigration accounted for just over 30% of U.S. net population growth. (CARL V. HAUB)

      Pressures upon people in poor countries to migrate to escape civil wars, "ethnic cleansing," torture and murder, and economic dislocation as well as to find personal and economic security continued in 1994. So did the patterns of rich countries tightening refugee and immigration laws and procedures.

      The governments of Switzerland and Germany signed an agreement in December 1993 providing that if it could be shown, within one year, that an asylum seeker or illegal immigrant had stayed in Germany or Switzerland before going to the second country, then he or she could be returned to the first country. The main Swiss political parties all backed the new "constraining measures" against asylum seekers announced by the government in December 1993. Germany more than doubled its expenditures on deportation in 1993. A Berlin court backed mass deportation of Vietnamese on the grounds that they were not threatened by political persecution at home and thus could be expelled under Germany's asylum laws. The Ministry of the Interior announced that more than 100,000 refugees from the rump Yugoslav areas of Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo should be deported. Pressure from Amnesty International (AI) forced the German government to extend the deadline for the repatriation of Croatian refugees to June 1995. Germany's commissioner for immigrants, Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen, expressed concern in October 1994 at the "rigorous deportation practices" that had been blamed for the deaths of 15 deportees since 1990.

      French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua (see BIOGRAPHIES (Pasqua, Charles )) set up a special police unit on January 15 to deal with immigration. Pasqua restated his intention to use chartered airplanes to deport illegals. Deportations of non-French nationals increased markedly after the new immigration laws of 1993 came into force. In one three-month period ended in June 1994, 2,666 people were deported, a 23% increase. Pasqua announced in April that France would refuse to accept any more refugees fleeing Algeria in the event of the fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front's taking power.

      The government of The Netherlands introduced for the first time an Aliens Act that imposed carrier sanctions (fines for airlines and shipping companies that transported in undocumented or falsely documented passengers). The Dutch government continued negotiations with African governments to deploy military border police at their airports to assist in checking travel documents on flights to The Netherlands. Sweden led Europe in deporting asylum seekers, expelling a total of 16,861 in 1992-93. Between July and December 1993 more than £ 10 million was allocated to set up special police task forces charged with searching for and arresting refugees denied asylum.

      In the United Kingdom many persons found that the 1993 Asylum and Immigration (Appeals) Act led to arbitrary and racist decision making on the part of immigration officials by removing rights of appeal against refusal of entry for visitors. In October AI issued a report, "Asylum-Seekers Detained in the United Kingdom," which found that "large numbers of vulnerable people are subjected to prolonged periods of incarceration, without adequate explanation and without an effective opportunity to challenge the basis on which they are held and seek their release, and often in conditions inappropriate to their status." By late 1994 the number of asylum seekers held in British prisons and immigration detention centres had doubled over the previous 18 months to more than 600. The High Court ruled in December 1993 that the Home Office could not ignore its own guidelines in deporting members of families established in Britain.

      In the 1994 U.S. elections anti-immigrant feelings were sometimes encouraged by politicians and right-wing forces. California passed Proposition 187, the so-called Save Our State proposition, which would bar the estimated 1.7 million undocumented workers and their children living in California from receiving education and nonemergency medical care. Gov. Pete Wilson supported the proposition as a key issue in his reelection campaign. The measure ran into opposition immediately, and it seemed unlikely that it would withstand the certain court challenges. Operation Gatekeeper, a new program of the U.S. Border Patrol to staunch the stream of immigrants from Mexico, reported early successes in October.

      On September 9 the U.S. and Cuban governments negotiated an end to the flood of Cuban refugees attempting to enter the United States on rafts and small boats. Cuba agreed to stop the outflow, and the U.S. agreed to grant entry rights to at least 20,000 Cubans a year. There was criticism of the continuing differential treatment of Cuban and Haitian boat people, with the former being generally welcomed as deserving political refugees and potential productive citizens while the latter were treated as economic migrants and future welfare recipients. In December U.S. authorities announced new measures to identify and process unqualified asylum seekers more quickly.


      The year 1994 witnessed an enormous outpouring of refugees fleeing genocide in Rwanda, severely straining the emergency response capacity of the international community. Crises of displacement also persisted in the states of the former Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), responsible for approximately 23 million refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees, and other victims of war, undertook the challenge of assisting refugees to repatriate to and reintegrate within their countries of former residence.

      Fresh on the heels of the 1993 exodus of some 580,000 Burundi refugees, the death of the Rwandan president on April 6, 1994, and the ensuing bloodbath led to the flight of more than two million Rwandans into neighbouring countries. The response to this emergency, which was exacerbated by the emergence of multiple mortal epidemics, required a massive relief effort involving UNHCR and other UN agencies, national governments, and nongovernmental organizations. Elsewhere in Africa, the signing of a peace accord between Liberia's warring factions in 1993 was belied by the continuing state of war on the ground, which in turn forestalled the repatriation of the majority of the 700,000 Liberian refugees in the region. Sudanese refugees, numbering some 265,000 by early September, continued to stream into Uganda. Despite the signing of repatriation agreements between the concerned governments, troubles in Mali ensured the outflow of new refugees into Mauritania and Algeria. In southern Africa the repatriation of over 1.5 million Mozambicans dispersed in six countries proceeded, with over 240,000 assisted returns recorded by the end of September. This repatriation operation, the largest ever undertaken in Africa, encompassed an ambitious program to reintegrate returnees into their region of origin, notably by means of small-scale, quick-impact projects intended to bridge the gap between emergency relief and longer-term development. One serious obstacle to reintegration in Mozambique, as in numerous other countries of return that were emerging from war situations, was the presence of indiscriminately sown land mines.

      The repatriation of some 250,000 Burmese Muslim refugees from Bangladesh entered a more active phase in July, and by the beginning of October about 71,000 refugees had returned to Myanmar. Some 85,000 Bhutanese refugees languished in Nepal despite numerous initiatives aimed at resolving their plight. Sri Lankan Tamils in southern India returned steadily, with some 87,000 having repatriated by October. The Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees stayed on course, seeking solutions for the remaining 56,000 Vietnamese and 23,000 Lao in camps in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

      Confrontation lines and alliances shifted in former Yugoslavia, but the plight of the some 3.7 million refugees, internally displaced persons, and other war-affected victims remained, for the most part, unresolved. Warfare simmered in Transcaucasia, which by mid-1994 counted 2.5 million Armenian refugees and internally displaced persons (of a total national population of 3.5 million), 900,000 displaced Azerbaijanis, and some 300,000 displaced Georgians and Abkhazians.

      At the start of 1994 well over three million Afghans remained in exile as internecine conflict within the country continued to undermine efforts to form a broad-based central government and clouded prospects for a full-scale repatriation. The vicious civil war in Tajikistan had resulted in the displacement of some 500,000 persons (or 10% of the total population) since 1992, 60,000 of whom sought refuge in Afghanistan to the south. Human rights monitoring and reconstruction assistance by UNHCR facilitated the return of some 90% of the internally displaced and 50% of the refugees to their places of origin in Tajikistan.

      In the Americas two waves of boat people, from Haiti and then from Cuba, began appearing in the U.S. These outflows were resolved first through the use of temporary safe havens in the region and then on a bilateral basis between the U.S. and the concerned country. Progress on refugee issues in Latin America went hand in hand with the region's consolidation of peace and democracy. The situation in Chile merited the application by the High Commissioner of the cessation clauses of the UNHCR Statute of the Office and the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, thus recognizing the progress made in ensuring civil liberties. The International Conference on Central American Refugees concluded in June, leaving behind a successful legacy and looking toward a constructive follow-up phase. (UNHCR)

      This updates the article population.

▪ 1994


       World's 25 Most Populous Urban Areas*At midyear 1993 world population stood at 5,505,914,000, according to estimates prepared by the Population Reference Bureau. This represented an increase of about 90 million over the previous year, but the rate of increase dropped slightly from 1992. Every day 386,920 babies were born and 140,250 persons died, leading to a daily world population increase of 246,670. The overall rate of growth was estimated to have declined slightly from about 1.68% in 1992 to about 1.64% in 1993. New data from censuses in the following 21 countries (for figures on the world's 25 most populous urban areas, see Table (World's 25 Most Populous Urban Areas*)) were made public in 1993:

      Country Year of census Population

      Antigua and Barbuda 1991 66,687

      Belize 1991 189,392

      Bolivia 1992 6,344,396

      Burundi 1990 5,139,073

      Canada 1991 27,296,855

      Côte d'Ivoire 1988 10,815,694

      El Salvador 1992 5,047,925

      French Guiana 1990 114,808

      Ireland 1991 3,525,719

      Luxembourg 1991 384,062

      Malaysia 1991 17,566,982

      Maldives 1990 213,215

      Marshall Islands 1988 43,380

      Norway 1990 4,247,546

      Papua New Guinea 1990 3,529,538

      Paraguay 1992 4,123,550

      South Africa 1991 30,986,920

      Spain 1991 38,425,679

      Sweden 1990 8,587,353

      Switzerland 1990 6,873,687

      Tanzania 1988 23,174,336

      Preparation for the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development intensified as regional preparatory conferences were held all over the world. The newly elected administration of Pres. Bill Clinton changed the U.S. approach to global population issues, reversing the Reagan administration's "Mexico City" policy of withholding funds from private organizations overseas that provided abortion services and recommending restoration of funds withheld from the UN Fund for Population Activities.

Less Developed Countries.
      The reliability of world demographic figures depends heavily on the availability and completeness of data from the less developed countries (LDCs), where nearly all world population growth took place but where data collection was often difficult. In 1993 an additional 85 million people were added to the population of the LDCs, compared with 5 million in the more developed countries (MDCs). Globally, women averaged about 3.3 children in their lifetime—down from 4.7 in 1970. They averaged 3.7 in the LDCs and 1.8 in the MDCs. Life expectancy at birth was 63 years for males and 67 years for females. The infant mortality rate in 1993 stood at 70 infant deaths per 1,000 live births worldwide—14 in the MDCs and 77 in the LDCs.

      In 1993 evidence mounted that a decline in fertility in African countries may have begun. The Demographic and Health Survey in Rwanda reported that the birthrate had dropped to an average total fertility rate (TFR) of 6.2 children per woman, down from 8. (The TFR is the average number of children a woman will have during her lifetime, assuming that the rate of childbearing in a given year remains constant.) Zimbabwe and Kenya also had registered notable drops in fertility, as had the North African states of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. The most recent UN projections showed Africa's 1993 population rising from the present 677 million to 3 billion late in the next century, assuming, however, that fertility in Africa would drop to 2.1 children by about 2040-45.

      In Latin America the TFR in 1993 stood at a relatively low 3.2 children per woman. This region had experienced a drop in the birthrate that was not entirely anticipated, lowering population projections from those of earlier years. Brazil, Latin America's most populous country, had a TFR of 2.6 children per woman, while Mexico, the second largest, reported a TFR of 3.4, down from 6 in 1970.

      The 3.3 billion population of the largest continent accounted for 59% of the world total in 1993. China (the world's most populous country, with 1,178,000,000 inhabitants) rekindled the controversy over its stringent population-control program when it announced a very low 1992 birthrate: 18.2 births per 1,000 population, down from 23.3 in 1987. This implied that China's TFR had dropped to only 1.9 children per woman, well below "replacement level" fertility, the approximately two children per couple needed to replace successive generations.

      Japan's TFR dropped to 1.49 in 1992, a rate comparable to those of the European countries with the lowest birthrates. Survey data reported by the Mainichi newspapers showed that many young Japanese couples were now limiting their family size owing to the high living costs and cramped housing. A very slow decline in fertility was suggested by sample birthrate data from India. A nationwide fertility survey was conducted in 1993, and prerelease reports suggested a larger drop in the birthrate than had been expected. India's population in 1993 stood at 897 million, with a growth rate of 2.1% per year.

      Very low birthrates in Europe continued in 1993, prompting concern about population decline. In Northern Europe women averaged 1.9 children each; in Western Europe, 1.5. This trend, in conjunction with concern about a rising immigrant population, resulted in debates throughout Europe over the role immigration should play in national demographic change. New data in 1993 showed that Russia was experiencing a population decrease resulting from a very sharp drop in the birthrate. In 1992 there were only 10.7 births and 12.2 deaths per 1,000 population. A birthrate lower than the death rate was also reported in Ukraine, the second most populous former Soviet republic.

United States.
      The population of the U.S. stood at 258,233,000 on July 1, 1993, including armed forces overseas. This represented an increase of 9,108,000 since the 1990 census. From July 1, 1992, to July 1, 1993, the population increased by 1.08%.

      The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported a provisional 4,084,000 U.S. births in 1992, continuing the slow decrease from 4,110,907 in 1991 and 4,158,212 in 1990. The crude birthrate fell from 16.7 births per 1,000 population in 1990 to 15.9 in 1992. Detailed fertility data for 1991, released by NCHS in 1993, showed that the TFR had dropped from its recent peak of 2.081 in 1990 to 2.073, and the unexpected increase in the birthrate at the end of the 1980s had come to an end.

      NCHS also released its most detailed TFR for U.S. ethnic groups, allowing an in-depth analysis of national fertility patterns in 1990. The highest rate, 3.2, was found among Mexican-Americans and Hawaiians; the lowest rate, 1.1, was that of Japanese-Americans. Non-Hispanic whites, who made up about three-fourths of the population, recorded a TFR of 1.9. A record 1,213,769 births in 1991 were to unmarried women. Overall, 29.5% of births were outside marriage in 1991, also a record high.

      There were 2,177,000 deaths provisionally reported in the U.S. in 1992, compared with 2,165,000 in 1991. The crude death rate in 1992 remained the same as in 1991, 8.5 deaths per 1,000 population. The age-adjusted death rate for the year ended in February 1993 was again the lowest in the country's history, 501.5 deaths per 100,000 standard population, down from 514.8 for the previous 12-month period. The 15 major causes of death accounted for 86% of all deaths in the 12-month period ended in February 1993, the same as the previous similar period. HIV infection (AIDS) jumped to the 8th leading cause of death, up from 11th in 1990.

      Causes of death in the United States Estimated rate per

      (year ended February 1993) 100,000 population

      1. Diseases of the heart 284.9

      2. Malignant neoplasms 203.9

      3. Cerebrovascular diseases 57.0

      4. Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases 36.1

      5. Accidents and adverse effects 35.2

      6. Pneumonia and influenza 30.9

      7. Diabetes mellitus 20.0

      8. HIV infection 11.8

      9. Suicide 11.5

      10. Homicide and legal intervention 10.6

      11. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis 9.9

      12. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis 9.2

      13. Septicemia 7.9

      14. Atherosclerosis 6.8

      15. Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period 6.5

      In the U.S., life expectancy at birth reached a record high of 75.5 years in 1991. Infant mortality reached another new low of 8.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in the 12-month period ended in March 1993. A wide gap in U.S. infant mortality between whites and blacks continued through 1991, the latest year for which data were available.

      There were 2,351,000 marriages in the U.S. in the 12-month period ended in March 1993, slightly down from the 2,384,000 during the same period in 1992. The marriage rate was 9.2 per 1,000 population, down from 9.4 in the period ended in March 1992. The number of divorces in 1993 compared with 1992 was almost stationary: 1,206,000 and 1,203,000, respectively.

      Legal immigration to the U.S. reached a new postwar high in fiscal year 1992 as the impact of increased levels of immigration under the Immigration Act of 1990 were felt. There were 810,635 legal immigrants during fiscal year 1992, up from 704,005 in fiscal year 1991. (CARL V. HAUB)

      In 1993 Austria, Britain, France, Germany, and the United States all passed laws tightening controls and limiting the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees or began the process of passing such laws. The European Community interior ministers meeting in June in Copenhagen agreed upon a series of measures including stricter monitoring of short-stay visitors and expulsion of those found to have entered or remained unlawfully and exclusion of such migrants on the grounds of public policy or national security.

      In the U.S. the year was marked by increasing anti-immigrant sentiment. Politicians such as Gov. Pete Wilson of California focused on the issue, laying the blame for much of his state's straitened economy on illegal immigrants. Wilson demanded that the U.S. government "reverse the rewards" for illegal immigrants by ending their medical and educational benefits and called for a constitutional amendment to deny citizenship for their American-born children. In this atmosphere Pres. Bill Clinton reversed his campaign pledge on Haitian refugees. On January 14, as president-elect, Clinton announced that he would continue the Bush administration's policy of forcibly repatriating Haitian boat people, and as president he sent a flotilla of U.S. Coast Guard ships to turn back Haitian refugees. In June he announced a number of immigration reforms—similar to those being adopted in Western Europe (see Sidebar (REFUGEES: Asylum in the U.S. ))—designed to tighten controls. These included "expedited exclusion," which provides for dealing with asylum requests within a few days; enforcement of the idea of "country of first asylum"; and withholding of work authorization from all but those who have been granted asylum.

      In July, through its Asylum and Immigration (Appeals) Act, the United Kingdom added restrictions to immigration rules. The act removed the right of appeal for those refused admission to enter Britain for a short stay. The law required refugees to seek asylum in the first "safe" country they reached. Amnesty International claimed the new law would increase the number of asylum-seekers expelled by Britain because they did not travel directly there from the country where they feared for their lives but via another country. The "safe" third country rule was upheld by a High Court decision on October 8. In April the Court of Appeal ruled that housing authorities, in order to pass judgment on applications for council (government-subsidized) housing, were entitled to determine whether homeless applicants were illegal entrants. The government later ordered local-government housing officials to carry out immigration passport checks on applicants for council housing.

      The new French government of Prime Minister Édouard Balladur pushed a number of laws through Parliament designed, in the words of Minister of Interior Charles Pasqua, to achieve "zero immigration." The measures included the ending of the automatic right to nationality by birth, the requirement that a foreigner marrying a French citizen wait two years instead of the current six months before obtaining citizenship, and permission for the police to carry out random identity checks without judicial control. In August France's Constitutional Council rejected eight of the 53 articles in the immigration act passed by Parliament on the grounds that they deprived foreigners of basic rights.

      In December 1992, after much soul-searching, Germany's opposition Social Democratic Party agreed to proposals, which had been pushed by the Christian Democratic-led government for years, to tighten immigration laws and limit the rights of asylum-seekers. The new laws that came into effect on July 1 provided that anyone who entered Germany via a "safe" third country—notably Poland and the Czech Republic—would be sent back there. Because all of Germany's neighbours had been categorized as "safe," however, it was virtually impossible for anyone claiming asylum to enter by land. Walther Koisser, an official of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Bonn, said that he believed there would be a chain reaction to the refugee problem as a result. Germany would "return" asylum-seekers to the safe country through which they had passed, which would send them back to the Balkans or to one of the countries of the former U.S.S.R.—all without any real test of whether they had a genuine case for receiving political asylum.


 As of mid-1993 there were an estimated 18.2 million refugees worldwide (for major refugee relocations, see Map—>), and a further 24 million persons were thought to be displaced within their own countries. The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), under its mandate of protecting refugees throughout the world, continued to implement a three-pronged strategy of preparedness, prevention, and solutions.

      During 1993 the African continent continued to be plagued by refugee crises. There were approximately 6 million refugees in Africa—one-third of the world's refugee population—while an estimated 15 million Africans had become internally displaced persons. Successive emergencies affected millions of drought victims, refugees, returnees, and internally displaced persons in the Horn of Africa, Angola, Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and The Sudan. Most of the refugees and returnees in Africa were located in countries facing major economic problems and were often in the most remote, poorest, and least developed areas of those countries. Such countries were often unable to absorb the extra burden of refugees or returnees, and may not even have been able to provide essential services to their own citizens who were already experiencing hardship and suffering. In western Africa some 42,000 persons, mostly Tuareg refugees from Mali, had sought refuge in Mauritania between 1991 and mid-1993. In view of reported improvement in the situation in Mali following a government accord with rebel forces, some Tuareg began to return, and a voluntary repatriation program was envisaged for the latter half of 1993.

      Southeast Asia saw a dramatic decrease in refugee populations as a result of the continuing implementation of the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees. The plan led to a remarkable decline in the number of Vietnamese departing clandestinely from their homeland and the successful completion of the voluntary repatriation of 363,061 Cambodian refugees from camps in Thailand. In southern Asia, Bangladesh and Nepal were coping with influxes of Muslim refugees from Myanmar and Hindu refugees from Bhutan, respectively. Farther south, the return home of over 100,000 Sri Lankan Tamils sheltered in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu continued into 1993; some 36,000 were repatriated with UNHCR assistance.

      The number of displaced persons in southwestern Asia continued to be among the largest in the world. In Tajikistan an estimated 500,000 persons had been uprooted (within Tajikistan as well as in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan) as a result of civil war. The fall of the Najibullah regime in Afghanistan in April 1992 gave some 6 million Afghan refugees cause to hope for a durable solution to their plight, and by August 1993 some 1.9 million Afghans had in fact repatriated. To some extent, however, the numbers of returned Afghan refugees were offset by others who fled to neighbouring countries to escape the continued fighting at home.

      In the former Yugoslavia, where incidents of targeted killing and depopulation, known as "ethnic cleansing," had led to large-scale population movements (there were some 3.6 million refugees and internally displaced persons in July 1993), UNHCR had assumed the role of lead agency for UN humanitarian relief. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, notably over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, led to the displacement of an estimated 800,000 Azerbaijanis and 330,000 Armenians.

      Through the International Conference on Central American Refugees, the consolidation of durable solutions for Central American refugees continued, including the first organized return of Guatemalan refugees from Mexico in January 1993. The numbers of Haitian asylum-seekers declined. Steady progress was also registered through voluntary repatriation for Chilean and Surinamese refugees.

      This updates the article population.

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Universalium. 2010.

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