The six wealthiest nations host less than nine percent of the world’s refugees while poorer countries shoulder most of the responsibility. The world’s richest countries can and should do much more to help the world’s most vulnerable people who have fled their homes because of violence and conflict.
The report highlights the disparity between levels of government aid and also the numbers of refugees and asylum seekers welcomed into countries.
As revealed by ongoing Oxfam research, some governments have not only given their ‘fair share’ of aid for those whose lives have been blighted by Syria’s terrible conflict, but also welcomed their fair share of Syrian refugees to their countries. But that is the honourable exception to 2016’s far wider, more dangerous trend of governments turning their backs on the world’s most vulnerable people and failing to uphold the spirit of the international law they claim to champion. And not all governments that have welcomed large numbers of refugees in the past are willing to continue doing so or to uphold the right to claim asylum.
The headline of one section is stark:
Richest countries least welcoming
The six richest countries (based on economic wealth/GDP) are US, China, Japan, Germany, UK and France.
Oxfam calculations using the latest available UN figures, and the World Bank’s ranking of countries based on their economic wealth (GDP), highlight the stark divide between some countries that are offering practical help to refugees who desperately need a safe place to stay – and those that are not.
Despite being responsible for 56.6% of the cumulative global GDP, the six biggest economies in the world host just 2.1 million refugees and asylum seekers, 8.88% of the world’s total of 21.3 million (of which Palestinian refugees account for 5.2 million).[Oxfam has followed the UN’s practice of including refugees registered both by UNHCR and the UN Relief and Works Agency, (UNRWA) set up in 1949 to provide help for Palestinian refugees, who it defines as people ‘who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict’, and the descendants of Palestinian male refugees.]
The top six countries hosting refugees and asylum seekers – Jordan, Turkey, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Pakistan, Lebanon, South Africa – totalling 50% of the world’s total, yet only accounting for 1.9% of the cumulative global GDP.
“It is a complex crisis that requires a coordinated, global response with the richest countries doing their fair share by welcoming more refugees and doing more to help and protect them wherever they are.
“Now more than ever, the UK needs to show that it is an open, tolerant society that is prepared to play its part in solving this crisis. It is shameful that as one of the richest economies the UK has provided shelter for less than 1% of refugees.”