Statistics Prove Rich Countries Are Barely Doing Anything To Help Refugees

by John Haltiwanger

There are 193 countries in the world, but just 10 of them host half of all the world's refugees, according to a new Amnesty International report.

These 10 countries account for less than 2.5 percent of the global economy.

Long story short, rich countries are barely doing anything to help refugees.

The UK, for example, has taken in just 8,000 Syrian refugees since 2011, while Jordan -- which has a population nearly 10 times smaller than the UK and just 1.2 percent of its GDP -- has taken in around 650,000 Syrian refugees.


As Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty put it,

A small number of countries have been left to do far too much just because they are neighbors to a crisis. That situation is inherently unsustainable, exposing the millions fleeing war and persecution in countries like Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq to intolerable misery and suffering.

With 65.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, including over 20 million refugees, this is the worst refugee crisis of our era.

If wealthy countries don't come together and make a more concerted effort to address this crisis, it will only breed further instability across the globe.

In Shetty's words,

It is time for leaders to enter into a serious, constructive debate about how our societies are going to help people forced to leave their homes by war and persecution. They need to explain why the world can bail out banks, develop new technologies and fight wars, but cannot find safe homes for 21 million refugees, just 0.3 percent of the world's population. If states work together, and share the responsibility, we can ensure that people who have had to flee their homes and countries, through no fault of their own, can rebuild their lives in safety elsewhere.

While much of what we here about refugees pertains to Syria, this is a global crisis -- it's not limited to any country or region.


Amnesty has proposed a criteria, based on things like a country's population size, national wealth and unemployment rate, to determine the fair share of refugees countries should accept.

Under this system, a country like New Zealand, for example, would accept 3,466 refugees.

This is not an exorbitant number when you consider Lebanon, which is similar in population size to New Zealand and has a smaller economy, has accepted 1.1 million refugees.

In Shetty's words,

The problem is not the global number of refugees, it is that many of the world's wealthiest nations host the fewest and do the least.

Indeed, rich countries can and should do more to address this crisis.

We can all do our part to help ensure some of the world's most vulnerable people have a chance to move forward with their lives.

Citations: Ten countries host half of world's refugees: report (Aljazeera)