BEIRUT (AFP) – Wealthy nations have only taken in a “pitiful” number of the millions of refugees uprooted by Syria’s war, placing the burden on the country’s ill-equipped neighbours, Amnesty International said Friday.
In a statement ahead of a December 9 donors’ conference in Geneva, the London-based rights group blasted as shocking the failure of rich nations to host more refugees.
“Around 3.8 million refugees from Syria are being hosted in five main countries within the region: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt,” said Amnesty.
“Only 1.7 per cent of this number have been offered sanctuary by the rest of the world.”
Highlighting what it called “the pitiful numbers of resettlement places offered by the international community”, Amnesty noted that the Gulf states, Russia and China had not offered a single resettlement place.
And excluding Germany, the European Union as a whole has pledged to take in only 0.17 per cent of the refugees now housed in the main host countries around Syria.
“The shortfall … is truly shocking,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Amnesty’s head of refugee and migrants’ rights.
“The complete absence of resettlement pledges from the Gulf is particularly shameful,” he added. “Linguistic and religious ties should place the Gulf states at the forefront of those offering safe shelter.”
The group said the failure of wealthy nations to share the burden had placed enormous strain on Syria’s neighbours, which were largely ill-equipped to deal with the pressure.