Three quarters of British public would welcome refugees with open arms – survey


A new survey shows that more than three quarters of the British public would accept refugees in their neighbourhood or home.

refugeesThe survey, carried out for Amnesty International by internationally renowned consultancy GlobeScan of more than 27,000 people across 27 countries, shows that anti-refugee political rhetoric is “out of step” with public opinion.

It also found that 70 per cent of British people think the UK government should do more to help those fleeing war and persecution.

The results from the majority of countries in the survey show that most people are ready and willing to accept refugees. Globally, two out of three people think that their governments should do more to help refugees fleeing war and persecution, and 80 per cent would accept refugees in their country, city, neighbourhood or home.

GlobeScan has ranked public opinion in order of the countries most accepting of refugees – the UK comes third after China and Germany.

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said: “The results show that the British public is overwhelmingly supportive of refugees and reflect what we are seeing in communities up and down the country. Local organisations are campaigning for their councils to take in refugee families, grassroots groups are collecting supplies for Calais or organising fundraising comedy or music nights and individuals have been heading as far as Greece to volunteer in refugee camps.”

The survey is published ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul from 23rd to 24th May 2016. Amnesty is calling on governments to commit to a new, permanent system for sharing the responsibility to host and assist refugees.

“The survey reveals that anti-refugee political rhetoric is out of step with reality. The UK government must go to the World Humanitarian Summit and commit to playing its part in dealing with the refugee crisis, and it can do so confident that British citizens are ready and willing to welcome refugees, not only into the country, but also into their neighbourhoods and even their homes,” Allen said.

People in different parts of the world overwhelmingly favour helping refugees. Globally, one person in 10 would take refugees into their home: the number rises to 46% in China, 29% in the UK and 20% in Greece, but was as low as 1% in Russia and 3% in Poland.

Globally, 32% said they would accept refugees in their neighbourhood, 47% in their city/town/village and 80% in their country.

In 20 of the 27 countries, more than 75% of respondents said they would let refugees in their country.

Globally, only 17% said they would refuse refugees entry to their country. Only in one country, Russia, did more than a third of people say they would deny them access (61%).

According to the survey, 66% of people said their governments should do more to help refugees while 73% of people globally agreed that people fleeing war or persecution should be able to take refuge in other countries.

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