Be more welcoming to refugees, Europe told

Europe should be “proud of its vocation as a land of asylum and its tradition of welcome,” Giacomo Santini, President of the PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, has said.

“To remain true to this vocation, it should not lag behind the rest of the world which would be a failure to live up to its responsibilities,” he added.

He said that while conflicts continue to force millions to flee from their countries, many European citizens do complain that they cannot receive all the refugees.

“They are right of course, and moreover this is far from being the case. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Asia hosts over half the world’s refugees, and Africa almost 20 per cent,” Mr. Santini said.

He urged Europe to demonstrate greater solidarity towards the other regions of the world. “The resettlement programmes conducted by the UNHCR are an effective mechanism for ensuring better distribution of the burden and showing better solidarity. In 2010 however, European States only resettled 5,824 refugees, whereas the United States resettled 54,077 and Canada 6,732 on its own. The figures speak for themselves: Europe can do better.”

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