(Featured image via The New Yorker, Photographer: Andrew Mcconnell / Panos)
According to a new Amnesty International report, out of the 193 countries in the World, only 10 of them host half of the World’s refugees, which accounts for less than 2.5 percent of the global economy.
In a nutshell, rich countries simply aren’t doing enough to help refugees.
Take Jordan for example, a country with a population 10 times smaller than the UK and just 1.2 percent of its GDP, has taken in around 650,000 Syrian refugees, compared to the UK that has taken in a mere 8,000 Syrian refugees since 2011.
Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty explained:
“A small number of countries have been left to do far too much just because they are neighbors to a crisis.
That situation is inherently unsustainable, exposing the millions fleeing war and persecution in countries like Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq to intolerable misery and suffering.”
With 65.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, including over 20 million refugees, this is the worst refugee crisis of our era.
If wealthy countries don’t come together and buck up their ideas to address the issue and actually help these people, the effect accross the globe with result in even further instability.
“It is time for leaders to enter into a serious, constructive debate about how our societies are going to help people forced to leave their homes by war and persecution.”
They need to explain why the world can bail out banks, develop new technologies and fight wars, but cannot find safe homes for 21 million refugees, just 0.3 percent of the world’s population.
If states work together, and share the responsibility, we can ensure that people who have had to flee their homes and countries, through no fault of their own, can rebuild their lives in safety elsewhere.”
Whilst the media emphasis tends to focus on Syrian refugees, this is very much a global issue.
Amnesty has proposed a criteria to determine how many refugees different counties should be accepting. This is based on things like a country’s population size, national wealth and unemployment rate.
Under this scoring system, a country like New Zealand, for example, could comfortably accept 3,466 refugees.
This is not a large number when you consider Lebanon, which is similar in population size to New Zealand and has a smaller economy, has accepted 1.1 million refugees.
In Shetty’s words,
“The problem is not the global number of refugees, it is that many of the world’s wealthiest nations host the fewest and do the least.”
Rich countries simply should be doing a lot more to support refugees. It’s just not good enough.