10 countries host majority of world's refugees

An Amnesty International report says 56 per cent of world's refugees are being sheltered in a small number of countries, while the wealthiest nations "host the fewest and do the least".

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Lebanon is the fourth-highest refugee-hosting country. One among over 1.5 million refugees, this Syrian boy was photographed at a makeshift settlement in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley on January 5, 2015.

Amnesty International says only 10 countries are hosting more than half the world’s refugees. More so “rich countries pay to keep people over there,” said the rights organisation.

The burden of 56 per cent of the 21 million refugees would not need to be undertaken by neighbouring countries, if other states take a fair share of responsibility for hosting refugees, the watchdog group said.

"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.

"It is time for leaders to enter a serious, constructive debate about how our societies are going to help people forced to leave their homes by war and persecution," Shetty added.

Amnesty said UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) figures from late 2015 show 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).

These countries account for 2.5 per cent of the world’s GDP.

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'," Amnesty said, calling it the “self-interest” of such countries.

"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.

EU refugee quota

Last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spearheaded an EU refugee relocation plan that aims to relocate 160,000 refugees.

However, only 5,651 have been relocated so far, with eastern and central European countries in particular opposed to the deal.

Hungary rejected EU refugee quotas in a referendum held on Sunday. Nearly 98 per cent of those who took part backed the government's call to reject the plan, although later the vote was deemed void

"There are many states in Europe, which think similarly to Hungary and are unhappy with the politics in Brussels," Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz told German media on Sunday.  "I said from the start that the relocation plan wouldn't work."

The EU signed an agreement on Sunday with Afghanistan to take back migrants ahead of a conference in Brussels aimed at securing international financial aid for the war-ravaged nation. According to the Guardian, Afghanistan will readmit any Afghan citizen who has not been granted asylum in Europe and refuses to return voluntarily.

TRTWorld and agencies