Refugees confused with economic migrants
18th April 2011: A poll for the Refugee Council has revealed two third Britons were sympathetic towards refugees coming to the country.
The survey was conducted to mark 60th anniversary of UN Convention for Refugees. It also points out extensive confusion about refugees among Britons.
The findings of the survey stated 74 per cent women and 61 per cent men were sympathetic to those escaping persecution to seek safety in the UK.
The research also brought to the fore significant misunderstanding around who a refugee is. Many respondents confused refugees with economic migrants from Poland and Eastern Europe.
The survey of more than 2,000 people by Opinium Research established that 44 percent of respondents believed 100,000 or more refugees were accepted in 2009.
A further 33 per cent thought the number was around 25,000. In fact, the factual number of those granted refugee status was 4,175.
The survey also disclosed that most people "wildly overestimated” the numbers of refugees who were acknowledged to stay in the country.
The vast majority of Britons (84per cent) were "proud to be British" while 82 percent believed that protecting the most helpless was a primary British value.
Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, said the British soldiers gave up their lives in World War II fighting to build a better world and protect others from harassment.
It was a legacy that all British people should be proud of. He elaborated, “ It should serve to remind us that Britain still have an important role to play in offering safety to those forced to run away from their homes to escape violence, torture and war in countries around the world today.’
Covey stated that it was encouraging, that even, 60 years after the UN Convention for Refugees was created so many people remained sympathetic to immigrants coming here, and that the majority believe protecting the most vulnerable was an inherent part of being British.