Rich countries fail to take 'fair' burden of refugee crisis

Oxfam says wealthy nations have failed to take 'fair' burden of Syrian refugee crisis as less than two percent refugees resettled and 15 rich countries donate less than 50 percent of determined funding

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Syrian refugee covers himself with a blanket at a makeshift camp for refugees and migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the village of Idomeni, Greece March 15, 2016

Wealthy countries failed to take on their burden of the refugee crisis as only one percent of nearly five million refugees have been resettled and barely more than 50 percent of the funding determined by appeals was given in 2015, the Oxfam charity said.

The report from Oxfam, which urges the payment of “fair share” funding for the crisis and resettlement of at least 10 percent of 4.8 million refugees in the surrounding region of Syria by the end of 2016, said the contribution of those countries have been disappointing so far.

The charity said only around 67,100 people were resettled in rich countries in the last three years despite almost 130,000 resettlement spots being promised.

The amount of funding committed to the United Nations (UN), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) also failed to reach the ideal level, charts detailing funding responses in the report showed. 

Syrian refugee women with their children wait to receive treatment at children's clinic in a Moroccan field hospital in Al Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria March 7, 2016.

According to the Oxfam analysis, 15 countries including Russia, the Czech Republic and Australia contributed less than 50 percent to the “fair share” payment quota which was created on the basis of the size of economy of wealthy countries.

France, the Netherlands, the US and Denmark - four of the countries which already failed to fully contribute the determined refugee funding quota - were also among the countries which resettled the least refugees as well as with Greece, Japan, Korea, Portugal. 

"We need to show Syrian people that 'solidarity' is an action, not a sound-bite," Oxfam chief Winnie Byanyima said in a statement.

As the Syrian conflict enters its sixth year, most of the people who have fled are located in Syria's immediate neighbours such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Many of them risk their lives to reach wealthy European countries through the Mediterranean and as much as 7,500 people have died making the crossing since 2014.

Chief executive of Oxfam GB, Mark Goldring, said “Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are struggling to cope with almost 5 million Syrian refugees. Rich nations should be doing more to share the responsibility and offer refuge to some of the most vulnerable women and children affected by this crisis.”

“It’s shocking that while people continue to flee Syria most countries have failed to provide a safe home for the most vulnerable,” he added.

The report came ahead of an unprecedented conference hosted by the UN in Geneva on Wednesday aiming to ensure “global responsibility sharing” for the refugee crisis. In Wednesday’s conference, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on all countries to show solidarity on the refugee crisis

Oxfam chief Byanyima said “if they chose so ... countries with a strong economy, good services and developed infrastructure can immediately resettle 500,000 refugees between them.”

Byanyima concluded the statement insisting that the Geneva conference "should result in urgent solutions, offering people safe and legal routes to a welcome in third countries."

TRTWorld and agencies