The six richest countries – which make up more than half the global economy – host less than nine percent of the world’s refugees, an aid group has said. The United States, China, Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom hosted 2.1 million refugees and asylum seekers last year – just 8.88 percent of the global total, the report from the Britain-based Oxfam said. Poorer countries, in contrast, have accommodated most of those looking for save havens, Oxfam said. “Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, South Africa as well as the Occupied Palestinian Territory host over 50 percent of the world’s refugees and asylum seekers but account for under two percent of the world’s economy,” it said.
“While Germany has recently welcomed far more refugees than the other of the wealthiest nations, there still remains a major gap with poorer countries providing the vast majority of safe havens for refugees.” Oxfam called on governments to host more refugees and to give more help to countries sheltering the majority of them – ahead of two major summits about refugees and so-called economic migrants in the US in September.
‘It is shameful’
“It is shameful so many governments are turning their backs on the suffering of millions of vulnerable people who have fled their homes and are often risking their lives to reach safety,” Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of Oxfam, said. “Poorer countries are shouldering the duty of protecting refugees when it should be a shared responsibility, but many richer countries are doing next to nothing.” An unprecedented 65 million people from around the world have been forced to flee their homes because of conflict, persecution and violence, the report said.
More than a third of them are refugees and asylum seekers, Oxfam said, and the remainder have had to move within their own countries. “Too many people who have taken treacherous journeys to reach safety end up living in degrading situations littered with abuse, hostility and discrimination, and too few governments are doing anywhere near enough to help or protect them,” Byanyima said.