Germany: Majority of people will welcome refugees 'with open arms' - Rights group

Berlin, Germany (PANA) - Human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, says a global survey it commissioned shows that the vast majority of people (80%) would welcome refugees with open arms, with many even prepared to take them into their own homes.

It says the new Refugees Welcome Index, based on a global survey of more than 27,000 people carried out by the internationally renowned strategy consultancy GlobeScan, ranks 27 countries across all continents based on people’s willingness to let refugees live in their countries, towns, neighbourhoods and homes.

A statement by the human rights group on Thursday says the survey shows people say they are willing to go to astonishing lengths to make refugees welcome. "It also shows how anti-refugee political rhetoric is out of kilter with public opinion."

“These figures speak for themselves. People are ready to make refugees welcome, but governments’ inhumane responses to the refugee crisis are badly out of touch with the views of their own citizens,” said Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty.

“The Refugees Welcome Index exposes the shameful way governments have played short term politics with the lives of people fleeing war and repression. Governments must heed these results, which clearly show the vast majority of people ready and willing to make refugees welcome in their country," he said.

“Governments cannot allow their response to the refugee crisis to be held hostage by headlines. Too often they use xenophobic anti-refugee rhetoric to chase approval ratings. This survey suggests they are not listening to the silent majority of welcoming citizens who take the refugee crisis personally.”

“We did not expect to see such strong levels of solidarity with refugees, but the results reflect the inspiring human compassion people feel to those fleeing war. They want to do what they can to help, not turn their backs. Politicians need to show the same spirit,” said Salil Shetty.

“People seem to be more committed to principles set down in international law than many of their governments, who are increasingly tearing up or ignoring commitments that have stood for 65 years.”

Amnesty International says to respond to the global refugee crisis, it is calling on governments to resettle 1.2 million refugees by the end of 2017. "That is far more than the 100,000 per year governments are currently taking annually, but less than a tenth of the 19.5 million refugees in the world today."

Amnesty International says it is also calling for governments at next week’s World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on 23-24 May to commit to a new, permanent system for sharing the responsibility to host and assist refugees.

This “Global Compact on responsibility-sharing” already proposed by the UN on 9 May, would then be adopted at a high-level UN summit of world leaders on 19 September. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is convening both summits to address the biggest humanitarian and refugee crises in 70 years.

It says Governments at the World Humanitarian Summit must also address the US$15 billion shortfall in humanitarian funding highlighted by the UN at the start of 2016, putting forward more money to support both refugees and the countries hosting large numbers of refugees.

“Governments’ efforts to keep out people fleeing war and persecution fly in the face of the humanity and solidarity shown by their own citizens, not to mention their obligations under international law. Refugees should be helped, protected and welcomed into communities, not held at arm’s length in refugee camps and detention centres,” said Salil Shetty.

“Politicians should stop pandering to intolerance and division, and listen to their people who want to help their fellow human beings. They must address the shameful imbalance that sees 86% of the world’s refugees welcomed by the world’s poorer countries while the wealthy ones renege on their responsibilities.”

The Refugees Welcome Index ranks countries on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 = all respondents would refuse refugees entry to the country and 100 = all respondents would accept refugees into their neighbourhood or home.
-0- PANA MA 19May2016

19 may 2016 09:33:53

xhtml CSS