38 New Zealanders have claimed refugee status - UN report

Thirty-eight people have declared themselves refugees from New Zealand, according to a recent United Nations report.

Another 18 are currently having their asylum seeker claims assessed, the UN High Commission for Refugees Global Trends report says.

In total there are 57 people "of concern" from New Zealand - 38 "refugees and people in refugee-like situations", 18 pending cases for asylum seekers and one "other".

Immigration NZ refugee and protection unit national manager Andrew Lockhart told RNZ it wasn't clear what they're fleeing.

"The claim belongs to the individual, so they're the ones who will be making the claim and it'll be based on their own personal circumstances, sometimes that's state persecution and sometimes it's local protection."

New Zealand was predictably near the bottom of the list, which was topped by Syria (6.6 million refugees, 13.2 million of concern), Afghanistan (2.2 million refugees, 5.6 million of concern) and South Sudan (2.3 million refugees, 4.3 million of concern).

Some countries - such as Venezuela, Nigeria, Iraq, Ethiopia and Congo - had relatively low numbers of official refugees, but vast numbers deemed of concern. 

UNHCR declined to comment on the report when approached by RNZ.

The countries Kiwis went to weren't disclosed in the report.