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Refugee burden unequal – Oxfam

15 June 20160 comments

The world’s five wealthiest countries – which make up half the global economy – are hosting less than 5 per cent of the world’s refugees, according to new research.

Meanwhile 86 per cent of refugees are in poorer developing countries that are often struggling to meet the needs of their own people.

oxfam logoThese are the findings of a new report by international charity Oxfam, titled ‘Too small a welcome from the world’s wealthy’.

Together, the US, China, Japan, the UK and Germany are hosting less than one million refugees, Oxfam says.

These five richest countries have taken 938,231 people, or 4.8 per cent of the world’s 19.5 million refugees, even though they boast just over one-half of the cumulative global GDP.

The five countries that have taken the most refugees, on the other hand, are all developing nations.

Collectively, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Pakistan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories host a staggering 50 per cent of the world’s refugees – even though they make up less than 1.5 per cent of the world’s economy.

Japan has taken by far the least, with China and the US following behind. The tiny nations of Jordan and Lebanon have taken by far the most, with one refugee for about every three or four people in their countries.

“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 Oxfam report said.

The international aid organization criticised the “dangerous trend of governments turning their backs on the world’s most vulnerable people and failing to uphold the spirit and the international law they claim to champion”.

The report comes as Oxfam launches a new campaign to pressure leaders in the world’s wealthiest countries to welcome more refugees and to do more to help and protect them.

The world is witnessing the worst refugee crisis since World War II. More than 60 million people have fled their homes because of violence, war and human rights violations, according to the United Nations.

Approximately one-third of the world’s 60 million displaced people are external refugees, whereas roughly two-thirds are internally displaced in their own countries.

The largest refugee populations come from Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Yemen, Burundi, Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

Oxfam acknowledges in its report that all of these conflicts “are man-made”.

Meanwhile, there is little sign that the disparity will get any better. In all of 2014, the five richest countries resettled just 53,029 people, as the number of displaced people in the world soared.

In March, the EU and Turkey reached an agreement to deport refugees and migrants in Europe en masse to Turkey, where rights organisations say their lives may be endangered.

The UN, rights groups and legal experts have criticised the deal as immoral; and illegal.

“It trades human beings for political concessions, flying in the face of at least the spirit if not the letter of the 1951 Refugee Convention, the legal document which defines the rights of refugees and responsibilities of governments to protect them,” Oxfam said of the deal.


Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist