As the Refugee Crisis continues to become more serious by the day, we stop to take a look at the best and worse reactions by governments, individuals and organisations across the world.
There are currently 4.1 million registered Syrian refugees. Lebanon is now housing well over one million of them, an enormous burden for a state with just 4.4 million citizens of its own. Jordan is also supporting over 1 million Syrian refugees, and Jordan is already struggling to cope with its 2 million Palestinian refugees.
Nearby countries have absorbed more than they can reasonably be expected to accommodate and it is now time for Europe, the U.S. and her allies among the Gulf States to help resolve a crisis they helped create. So far, results have been patchy.
The Gulf States
- While some of the Gulf’s richest states, individuals and companies have donated almost $1 billion to support refugees,they are accepting virtually zero refugees within their borders.
The U.S. Government
- The U.S., whose relentless meddling, occupation, drone strikes have helped destabilize the region have taken in just 1,500.
The UK Government
- Only after extraordinary public outcry at the UK government’s failure to respond to the crisis, did PM David Cameron announce that his government will accept just 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years. They will only be able to stay for five years, and child refugees will be deported when they hit the age of 18.
- Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic will accept Christian refugees but are strongly against accepting Muslims.
- The Hungarian Prime Minister is steadfastly refusing to honor refugee obligations, claiming they “are threatening Europe’s Christian culture.”
- Hungarian camerawoman Petra Laszlo was filmed kicking and tripping refugees.
- Macedonian border police have been filmed threatening refugees with batons.
- Germany defied the Dublin Regulations (restrictions on immigrants) to welcome in 800,000 Syrian refugees this year – a massive contribution to absorbing the refugee population and reducing pressure on entry points across the EU.
- German citizens have been so busy donating to support the refugees that police actually had to ask them to stop, as they had more resources than they yet knew what to do with.
- When coach-loads of Syrian refugees arrived in the tiny German town of Oer Erkenschwick this week, hundreds of townspeople bearing flowers and welcome banners lined the streets to welcome their guests.
- Austria welcomed more than 16,000 Syrian refugees on just one weekend.
- Austrian citizens have been welcoming refugees with sleeping bags, cigarettes and even home-made jam
- The Swedish government was first to announce that they will be granting permanent residence to all Syrian refugees who register in their country.
- Sweden has already welcomed over 40,000 Syrian refugees.
- Sweden has been providing free bus passes to Syrian refugees to help them travel and prevent them feeling isolated in their new communities.
- The Finnish Prime Minister will be opening his own home to Syrian refugees
- Two weeks ago Finland confirmed it will accept 15,000 refugees.
- A total of 100 municipalities have since signed up to accept further refugees.
- British group of 7 concerned citizens have raised £50,000 ($76,500) in just a few weeks to help put together aid packages for refugees in Kent.
- Another British group set up a Kickstarter for the same purpose which has raised £41,000 ($63,000).
While some people are choosing to avoid the moral quandary and responsibility of the refugee crisis by judging those they would otherwise be compelled to help – many are rising to this unique contemporary challenge with a spirit of compassion and cooperation. Those people are on the right side of history. This writer thanks you all for your courage and care.
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