Would you invite a refugee into your home? Ordinary citizens all over the world say yes—even where you’d least expect it
To mark World Refugee Day, the United Nations Refugee Agency today released its annual Global Trends report, which finds that a record 65.3 million people were displaced last year. (That’s about one out of every 113 people worldwide.) Though the statistics are staggering, U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon—once a refugee himself—has pleaded with world leaders to see this as “not just a crisis of numbers” but as “a crisis of solidarity.”
Yet it turns out that solidarity might not be a rare commodity after all. A global survey of 27,680 ordinary citizens in 27 countries, commissioned by Amnesty International over the first half of 2016, found that fully 80 percent of people "would welcome refugees with open arms,” with many going so far as to “take them into their own homes.”
In a statement, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary general, said:
“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… 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.”
Russia bottoms out the list as the least welcoming country—not exactly unexpected, given NATO’s claims that it is “weaponizing” Syrian refugees. Yet overall, the index reveals a number of positive surprises. Despite an election season awash in anti-refugee rhetoric, the United States ranks in the top 10. Germany, praised for accepting over 1 million refugees in 2015—more than any other European nation—nearly tops the list, but isn’t number one. And though China’s leaders have essentially refused to host Syrian refugees, its citizens are much more hospitable than anyone could have guessed.
How welcoming is your country? Find out in the infographic above. And if you’d like to join the United Nations in standing #WithRefugees, pledge your support today.