4 in 5 people worldwide say: 'We welcome refugees!'

An amazing 80% of people worldwide would welcome refugees with open arms – leaving their governments badly out of touch with reality.

  • Campaigns
© Amnesty International (Photo: Richard Burton)

When Amnesty asked more than 27,000 people across 27 countries if they would welcome refugees, the response was incredible: 4 in 5 people replied with a resounding “yes, we will”!

All over the world, people are watching in horror as the global refugee crisis goes from bad to worse. Our survey shows that while many governments still claim they simply can’t find room for refugees, their citizens feel the opposite way.

The UK and Australian governments are probably more out of touch than any other leaders globally: an astonishing 87% of British people and 85% of Australians are ready to invite refugees into their countries, communities – even their own homes.

 

Amnesty International
4 in 5 people responded with a resounding: “Yes, we welcome refugees!”

80% would welcome refugees in their country, community or home

Watch video
A volunteer hands a melon to a refugee child from Afghanistan in Dresden, Germany, August 2015. © Carsten Koall/Getty Images

China, Germany and the UK are the most welcoming

We created a ranking based on our survey results, called the Refugees Welcome Index. China comes out on top, with almost half of those we spoke to saying they would accept refugees in their own home. Russia, Indonesia and Thailand - which thousands tried to reach by boat after fleeing Myanmar last year - came bottom of the list.

People in Germany and the UK are also taking the refugee crisis particularly personally, ranking second and third as the most welcoming. 

Almost a third of people in the UK – 29% – are willing to open up their own homes to refugees. Another 47% would let refugees live in their neighbourhoods.

An incredible 96% of Germans, who made room for 1 million people in the last year, are still open to the idea of hosting more. In Jordan, a small country already hosting over 600,000 refugees from Syria, 94% feel the same way. 

© Amnesty International

73% say people fleeing war or persecution should be able to take refuge in other countries

Greek grandmothers lovingly care for a refugee's baby, Lesvos, Greece, 16 October 2015. © Lefteris Partsalis

Governments should start pulling their weight

Almost 3 in 4 people worldwide – 73% – agree that people should be able to take refuge in other countries to escape war and persecution. This feeling is particularly strong in Spain (78%), Germany (69%) and Greece (64%).

Across the globe, 2 in 3 people, or 66%, say their governments should do more to help refugees – including in countries that have already welcomed huge numbers: 84% feel this way in Jordan, 75% in Germany, and 74% in Greece. In Kenya, which hosts nearly 600,000 refugees - including 413,000 people from Somalia - 65% agree.

Others are waiting impatiently for their country to start pulling their weight: 86% of those we spoke to in China, for example, 85% of those we spoke to in Nigeria, and 82% in Spain.

 

©Amnesty International / Olga Stefatou

66% want their governments to do more to help refugees

A boat crammed with around 350 people, including children, who had drifted for weeks off the coast of Thailand and Malaysia, 19 May 2015. © Thapanee Ietsrichai

Make your politicians listen

Our survey results are overwhelmingly positive – but most governments still just aren’t listening.

Only nine of the 27 countries covered by our survey have committed to taking in any of Syria’s 4.8 million refugees. But they have only agreed to share fewer than 174,000 people between them.

Another four countries in our survey – Turkey, Jordan, Greece and Germany –are hosting millions, with very little help from other countries. Because most governments still pretend that protecting refugees is somebody else’s problem.

Their attitude is badly out of touch with the inspiring “can do” attitude among their citizens.

Our survey shows that politicians have run out of excuses not to do their fair share: Instead of chasing headlines with anti-refugee rhetoric, they should be making brave decisions.

They can start by agreeing to share responsibility for those refugees who need help most, at the World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey on 23-24 May.

Amnesty is pushing for more than 1 million refugees to be resettled by the end of 2017.It’s not going to be simple, or easy, but as our survey shows, thousands of people stand ready to roll up their sleeves and pitch in to welcome refugees.