Rich Countries Must Do Their Fair Share for Syrian Refugees

Some rich countries, year on year, have offered little more than token gestures in aid for Syria, and a safe haven to too few vulnerable refugees.

In almost five years Syria has become the epicenter of the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe, causing 4.6 million people to flee the country for their lives and 6.8 million more to be displaced internally.

Today the UK hosts governments from around the world to discuss how to raise money to meet the immediate needs of those affected by the Syria crisis, ensuring that innocent civilians are protected, and creating jobs and education for refugees.

It’s a big task - but how much have countries really done so far? Oxfam researchers have looked into it again and the results are very disappointing.

Some countries like Kuwait and Norway lead the way on aid funding, and others like Norway, Canada and Germany have resettled more than their fair share of refugees. But overall the response from most OECD donor countries is disappointing:

  • Lebanon with a population of just over 4 million people has taken in 1.2 million refugees; a quarter of its population are now Syria refugees. The United States with a population of just over 318 million people has pledged to take in 11,812 refugees, just 7% of its fair share.
  • As a host country Jordan is estimated to spend $870 million a year supporting Syrian refugees; if it were treated as a traditional donor, Jordan would have contributed 5,628% of its fair share. France has contributed $139.4 million in response to the UN appeal for the crisis, just 45% of its fair share.
  • Germany had contributed 152% of its’ fair share of funds and 113% of resettlement places.
  • Collectively, rich nations have so far offered places to 128,612 Syrians, only 28% of the minimum they should.

These figures were calculated by looking at the size of each country’s economy, based on gross national income.

You can browse the country-by-country breakdown by downloading our 2016 Syria Crisis Fair Share Analysis.

It’s essential that Syrian voices are at the table to demand urgent action. Here’s Rouba Mhaissen, a Syrian activist who set up an organization helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon talking about her hopes for the conference:

As we approach the fifth anniversary of the Syrian conflict, we have to tell the world that our governments that they must do more.

What you can do now

Share this blog and tell your friends that you want your government to do its #FairShare to #SupportSyrians.

Support Oxfam's Syria Crisis response

This entry posted by Daniel Gorevan, Oxfam Campaigns and Policy Manager, Syria Crisis, on 4 February 2016.

Photo: Syrian children gather outside an school in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, on September 21, 2015. Oxfam supports some 25,000 of Zaatari's 80,000 residents by providing drinking water, toilets and showers, community centres, hygiene promotion and waste collection. Credit: Sam Tarling/Oxfam

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