U.N.: Canada and U.S. not experiencing crisis in asylum claims

The United Nations' assistant high commissioner for refugees says neither Canada nor the United States is experiencing a crisis in asylum claims.

Volker Turk, an Austrian in charge of refugee protection for the UN, was in Ottawa this week to meet with Canadian border officials.

He says in an interview with The Canadian Press that Canada's recent spike in irregular migrants is nothing compared to the millions of refugees who pour every year into much poorer countries.

Likewise, the migrant caravan making its way through Mexico toward the US, numbering in the low thousands of people, is small compared to the vast migrations borne in recent years by countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, which have taken in more five million Syrian refugees.

Turk says the preception is that hordes of people coming to the industrialized world, and that's not true.

He says North America has largely been shielded from the true global crisis of 68.5 million displaced persons in the world fleeing war and conflict.

Turk adds that 90 per cent of the world's refugees who cross international borders do so far away from both Canada and the US.