Who welcomes most refugees? Most mistakenly think it's the West

Dunya News

More than 65 million people have been driven from their homes by war and poverty.

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - People surveyed on five continents mistakenly think wealthy Western countries are welcoming most refugees as the world grapples with its worst migration crisis in decades, a survey showed on Thursday.

With more people than ever fleeing home since World War Two, most respondents thought the United States, France and Germany accepted the largest number of refugees over the last decade, the survey by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative (AHI) found.

However, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey welcomed most refugees and asylum seekers over that time period - some 10 million people, according to data by the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) cited as part of the findings.

The United States and Germany took in some 3.5 million people, according to AHI. The study cited no figure for France because it did not rank among the top 15 nations to have admitted refugees and asylum seekers over the last decade.

The survey of some 6,500 adults polled in 12 countries in February and March comes as more than 65 million people have been driven from their homes by war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere, according to UNHCR.

Salpi Ghazarin, a social scientist at the University of Southern California associated with AHI, said the mistaken perception that wealthy countries led the pack in welcoming refugees suggested expectations they should do more.

"The natural assumption would be that the countries with the most capacity would be the ones stepping forward and doing something," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.

In a sign of "humanitarian morass worldwide," the Yerevan, Armenia-based charity also said its poll had found only a third of respondents were willing to welcome more refugees.

Survey respondents lived in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Argentina, Armenia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Russia and Turkey.

Earlier this year, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order capping the total number of refugees allowed in the United States to 50,000 this year.

Europeans have for their part signaled resentment over the surge of refugees in their countries, including in Germany, which has accepted more refugees than any other country in Europe.