19 June 2015

The European Union should contribute more to sharing responsibility for refugees, including by increasing the number of places available for resettlement in its Member States, Amnesty International has said in a newly published report. The reaction of countries globally, including EU Member States, to the worst refugee crisis since World War II has been a “shameful failure”, with the bulk of responsibility falling on a handful of countries, Amnesty International states.

Europe’s leaders have taken important steps to prevent deaths in the Mediterranean, including by increasing resources for the Frontex’s Triton operation to the level of former Italian Mare Nostrum Operation, and by proposing to relocate 40,000 refugees from Italy and Greece to other countries in the European Union. However, these measures do not address the problem of responsibility-sharing within the EU, Amnesty says.

The document spotlights the growing crisis, saying 4 million Syrian refugees are struggling to survive in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. In spite of this, the international community has only provided a limited amount of assistance, with only 23% of the United Nations’ appeal for Syrian refugees fulfilled.

The report says conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Nigeria and Burundi have contributed to the growth of refugee numbers. Meanwhile in Southeast Asia, there have been asylum seekers coming from Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Amongst other actions, Amnesty International is calling on governments to resettle one million refugees over the next four years, and create a global fund that will be used for all UN humanitarian emergencies for refugee crises, as well as to support those countries that are hosting high numbers of refugees.

Furthermore, Amnesty International calls for the global ratification of the UN Refugee Convention, and urges governments to establish fair asylum procedures in their domestic systems and to ensure that access to basic services, like education and health, is provided to refugees.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 19 June 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.