Arab countries have come under increased criticism from around the world for failing to assert themselves in the wake of the massive refugee crisis enveloping Europe. With an unremitting surge in migrant populations flooding into the continent, the immediate response of some of the more affluent and resourceful Arab nations leaves much to be desired.
According to Amnesty International, 3.8 million refugees, predominantly Syrian, have found refuge in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt with the first two leading the effort by jointly housing an estimated 3 million migrants.
“In total, 63,170 resettlement places have been offered globally since the start of the Syria crisis, which equates to a mere 1.7 percent of the total population of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey. 378,684 people in the five main host countries – or 10 per cent are in need of resettlement according to UNHCR.”
These figures stand in striking contrast to those of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain where hardly any notable measures appear to be in place for adequate refugee re-settlement. While Government policies in these countries indicate an astonishing passivity bordering on indifference, even public response in these countries has also remained remarkably restrained.
Meanwhile, the debate in Europe over the crisis has intensified. Reports reflect conflicting postures between Central and Western European states with several countries assuming independent positions on the issue. While Germany and France are the leading proponents of a measured and sustainable refugee resettlement program across Europe, other states remain largely circumspect about the impact of the crisis on their respective economies. Western European countries are particularly struggling to meet the challenge, despite having backed the newly proposed quota system according to which nearly 160,000 refugees are expected to be relocated among E.U. countries.
Among other countries, the United States has contributed more than $4 billion in aid and assistance for refugees traumatized by the Syrian war since 2011, surpassing every other nation in the world by a considerable margin. France has recently pledged to accommodate 24,000 asylum seekers despite growing opposition from its people, while Germany is anticipating roughly 800,000 refugees to enter its territory by the end of the year. Britain, in the meanwhile, has also announced its plan to accept 20,000 Syrian Refugees over a five-year period. Some Central European countries however are apparently not quite keen on encouraging excessive refugee inflows into their territory possibly owing to economic reasons.
It remains to be seen whether Arab countries, particularly those choosing to conveniently languish along the sidelines will be propelled into action at some point or lend themselves to intense international criticism on account of failing to respond to a crisis essentially originating from turbulent lands bordering their own regions.
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