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‘Chinese, Germans, Britons most welcoming to refugees’

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A pro-refugee rally outside the state library in Melbourne. PHOTO: JULIAN SMITH/AAP

A pro-refugee rally outside the state library in Melbourne. PHOTO: JULIAN SMITH/AAP

The people of China, Germany and the United Kingdom (UK) are the most welcoming to refugees in the world, according to an Amnesty International survey on attitudes towards those fleeing war and persecution.

In a global survey of 27,000 people across 27 countries, nearly 70 per cent said their governments should do more to help refugees, while 80 per cent said they would accept refugees living in their country, city, or neighbourhood.

One in 10 would welcome a refugee to live in their own home, with the figure rising to 46 per cent in China and 29 per cent in the UK.

China and the UK were first and third respectively on Amnesty’s Refugees Welcome Index, with Germany in second place.

In Germany, a country that received 1.1 million asylum seekers in 2015, almost every respondent (96 per cent) said they would accept refugees in their country, while only 3 per cent said refugees should be refused entry. And 76 per cent of German respondents said their government should be doing more to assist refugees.

Of UK respondents: 84 per cent agreed that “people should be able to take refuge in other countries to escape war or persecution”.

Seventy per cent believed the government should do more to help refugees fleeing war or persecution.

Eighty-two per cent would welcome refugees living in their city, town, or village.

Seventy-six per cent would welcome refugees living in their neighbourhood.

Twenty-nine per cent would welcome refugees living in their own home.

In many cases, the response of people appears at odds with their country’s political culture, such as in Australia, which is fifth on Amnesty’s index.

While the country has hardline policies towards people seeking asylum on its shores, including mandatory and sometimes indefinite detention in remote island camps overseas, seven in 10 people believe the country should do more to help people displaced by war or persecution.

The Australian immigration minister, Peter Dutton, claimed, in the midst of an election campaign this week, that Australia could not accept more refugees because most were what he described as uneducated, illiterate, and would take Australian jobs or be a drain on the welfare system.

“For many people, they won’t be, you know, numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English. These people would be taking Australian jobs, there’s no question about that. For many of them that would be unemployed, they would languish in unemployment queues and on Medicare.”

Dutton’s own department commissioned a report, which found refugees make valuable economic and social contributions to Australia.


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