Ten countries accounting for 2.5 percent of world GDP are hosting more than half the world’s refugees, Amnesty International said Tuesday as it slammed what it called the selfishness of wealthy nations.
In a report on the plight faced by the world’s 21 million refugees, the London-based human rights body lamented that countries immediately neighbouring crisis zones bear the brunt of the global refugee problem.
Fifty-six percent of refugees are being sheltered in 10 countries, according to the report, in which Amnesty proposed a solution whereby the world’s countries find a home for 10 percent of the planet’s refugees every year.
“A small number of countries have been left to do far too much just because they are neighbours to a crisis,” said Amnesty secretary general Salil Shetty, presenting the report entitled “Tackling the global refugee crisis: from shirking to sharing responsibility”.
“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.
“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.”
Amnesty said the top refugee hosting country was Jordan, which has taken in more than 2.7 million people, followed by Turkey (more than 2.5 million); Pakistan (1.6 million) and Lebanon (more than 1.5 million).
The remaining six nations listed in the top 10 each hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees: Iran (979,400); Ethiopia (736,100); Kenya (553,900); Uganda (477,200); Democratic Republic of Congo (383,100), and Chad (369,500).
The statistics are based on figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Amnesty said many of the world’s wealthiest nations “host the fewest and do the least”.
“It is not simply a matter of sending aid money. Rich countries cannot pay to keep people ‘over there’,” it said.
The “self-interest” of such countries meant the international refugee crisis was set to get worse, not better, Amnesty claimed.
“If every one of the wealthiest countries in the world were to take in refugees in proportion to their size, wealth and unemployment rate, finding a home for more of the world’s refugees would be an eminently solvable challenge,” said Shetty.
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