A new data story just got published by UNCHR Dava Visualization Platform.

With the end of the global public health emergency, this data story takes a look back at how the world’s forcibly displaced were able to access protection during the crisis. We all remember the seemingly unprecedented restrictions on human mobility, with states closing their borders to travelers and in some cases to refugees and asylum-seekers as well. But access to asylum is not just about the ability to reach and cross a border. The pandemic also brought with it a wide array of restrictions that affected refugee and asylum-seekers’ ability to receive necessary food, medical assistance and shelter on arrival, apply for refugee status, and get the necessary legal documentation to reside in a host country. In the immediate aftermath of the pandemic declaration, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees declared that the pandemic did not provide an exemption to states’ obligations to provide access to international protection, and that doing so would not interfere with protecting public health.

To keep track of these multifaceted ways in which the changing pandemic situation was affecting people’s ability to access asylum, UNHCR launched the Global Protection Platform in April 2020, tracking these issues through April 2022. Using this extensive data, Dr. Lama Mourad (Carleton University) and Dr. Stephanie Schwartz (The London School of Economics & Political Science) developed the Covid Asylum Restrictiveness Index (CARI) to track the overall impact of the wider set of measures related to asylum during the pandemic. For every month where data is available, CARI scores for each country range from 0 (no restrictions) to 100 (most restrictive). This index allows for analysis both across countries and over time. Below we discuss three major takeaways of this research, and some of their implications for the long-term impact of the crisis on asylum globally.

You can read the full story below to learn more about how COVID-19 affected people’s ability to seek asylum.

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