Amnesty International: selfishness of rich countries making the crisis even worse

Amnesty International released a report assessing the global refugee crisis. Titled as “Tackling the Global Refugee Crisis from Shirking to Sharing”, the report summarizes the severity of the global refugee crisis. The report includes situation analyses of different regions and points out developed countries' failure in sharing responsibility. Amnesty International also provides some proposals for resolving this crisis.

Speaking about the situation, Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said: “Just 10 of the world’s 193 countries host more than half its refugees. 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.” Shetty also added: “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% of the world’s population.”

Urgent need of resettlement

According to the report, there are 21,3 million refugees in the world, constituting 0,3% of the world's population. 1,2 millions of the refugees are urgently in need of resettlement to other countries. The report states that Jordan, with more than 2,7 million refugees, is the country hosting the most refugees. Jordan is followed by Turkey with 2,5 million refugees and Pakistan with more than 1,6 million refugees. This means that 56% of the refugees are hosted by 10 countries that have less than 2.5% share of the global GDP. Violations of human rights are taking place in the regions where the refugees coming from the conflict zones are resettled. Refugees consistently live in fear of arrest, detention, prosecution and in some cases refoulement. These people are also faced with the risk of disease, physical and sexual abuse.

They risk dangerous journeys

In 2015, more than a million refugees and immigrants reached Europe by sea. Amnesty International notes that more than 4000 people had been drowned. In the first 6 months of 2016, more than 3500 people died. Shetty said, “The refugee crisis is not limited to the Mediterranean. All over the world refugees lives are at risk, crammed into packed boats, living in abject conditions and at risk of exploitation, or taking dangerous journeys where they are at the mercy of smugglers and armed groups. World leaders must work out a fair system to share the responsibility for helping them.”

Responsibility is on the neighboring countries

The report emphasizes the inequality in sharing. It is expected that all countries host a fair amount of refugees in accordance with their sheltering capacities, which is measured by welfare, population and rate of unemployment. With this estimation, it is easy to find out which countries are shirking from their responsibilities. For instance, UK have accepted approximately 8000 refugees since 2011, “while Jordan – with a population almost 10 times smaller than the UK and just 1.2% of its GDP – hosts close to 655,000 refugees from Syria.” While Lebanon hosts more than 1,1 million refugees, Ireland, which is seven times larger than Lebanon and have a five times bigger economy, hosts only 758 refugees.

The states must show leadership

Some EU countries and Australia “do nothing to solve the problems facing refugees, and involve an acceptance by states of systemic human rights violations and abuse as a policy tool.” On July 2016, it turned out that the refugees in the detention center in Nauru Island off Australia suffer severe abuse, inhumane treatment and neglect. The report notes Canada as an example, which accepted approximately 30,000 refugees through resettlement since November 2015. “In less than one year –between November 2015 and August 2016– Canada resettled nearly 30,000 Syrian refugees. Just over half of those people were sponsored by the Canadian government, and nearly 11,000 others arrived through private sponsorship arrangements. As of late August 2016, an additional 18,000 Syrians’ applications were being processed –mainly in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.” Pointing out that only “around 30 countries currently run some kind of refugee resettlement program”, Amnesty International notes that the situation would improve, if the number of such countries reaches to 60 or 90. The organization also proposes to develop a global mechanism for resettling the refugees effectively in case of bleak situations like Syrian Civil War. In this way, neighboring countries wouldn't be the only ones who take the responsibility of the refugees who run away from their countries to save their lives.

For reading the full report, click here



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Aleksia Kotam