Share responsibility for refugees, NGO urges | World| Breakings news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 18.07.2016
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Share responsibility for refugees, NGO urges

The Oxfam international NGO has slammed wealthy countries for not doing enough to help the many refugees, while poorer nations shoulder most of the responsibility.

The six wealthiest nations host less than nine percent of the world's refugees and "should do much more" to help people who have fled their homes because of violence and conflict, Oxfam said in a report released on Monday.

The warnings come just weeks before world leaders met for key back-to-back summits in New York. On September 19, UN member states will gather for the first UN Summit on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, followed by a meeting on the refugee challenge called by US President Barack Obama.

Fleeing disaster and poverty

The number of people forced to flee their homes due to war, violence or persecution is at its highest level since records began, the UK-based NGO said: "The conflict in Syria has been a major factor in this increase, but people have also fled other conflicts."

According to Oxfam, more than 5,400 people lost their lives in 2015 trying to reach a safe haven, while 3,651 people died in the first six months of 2016.

It's mainly the poorer countries that shoulder the burden of providing refugees with shelter, food, healthcare, jobs and education, the organization said. Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, the occupied Palestinian Territory, Pakistan and South Africa, whose economies collectively account for less than two percent of the world's total, "host half the world's refugees and asylum seekers - almost 12 million people."

Save and protect lives

This crisis is far too big for any one country to solve alone, Oxfam argues, stressing that governments must act together - and act responsibly.

Oxfam urges wealthy nations to "welcome more of the world's refugees and to substantially increase their support for middle- and low-income countries that are hosting the majority of people forced to flee."The world's six most wealthy nations - the US, China, Japan, Germany, France, and the UK - make up more than half the global economy, according to Oxfam, which bases its calculations on recent UN figures and a World Bank ranking of countries based on their economic wealth.

In 2015, these states gave almost $2 billion (1.81 billion euros) in aid to the UNHCR, Oxfam said, but added that providing aid can't "absolve rich countries from their moral and legal responsibilities to welcome more refugees."

This year, Oxfam sees a much more dangerous trend: "governments turning their backs on the world's most vulnerable people."