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Four in Five Australians Would Welcome Refugees New Survey Shows


19 May 2016 at 2:21 pm
Wendy Williams
Around four in five Australians agree that people should be able to take refuge in other countries to escape war or persecution, a new survey shows.

Wendy Williams | 19 May 2016 at 2:21 pm


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Four in Five Australians Would Welcome Refugees New Survey Shows
19 May 2016 at 2:21 pm

Around four in five Australians agree that people should be able to take refuge in other countries to escape war or persecution, a new survey shows.

The new global survey, commissioned by Amnesty International, shows that 80 per cent of people would welcome refugees fleeing danger into their own countries.

Of the 27 countries surveyed, Australia is the fifth-highest country in the ranking of public acceptance of refugees.

The Refugees Welcome Index, based on a global survey of more than 27,000 people carried out by strategy consultancy GlobeScan, ranks 27 countries across all continents based on people’s willingness to let refugees live in their countries, towns, neighbourhoods and homes.

The findings sit in contrast to comments made by the  immigration minister Peter Dutton on Wednesday that many refugees are uneducated and illiterate.

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said politicians need to show refugees the same spirit.

“We did not expect to see such strong levels of solidarity with refugees, but the results reflect the inspiring human compassion people feel to those fleeing war. They want to do what they can to help, not turn their backs. Politicians need to show the same spirit,” Shetty said.

“Refugees should be helped, protected and welcomed into communities, not held at arm’s length in refugee camps and detention centres or pushed back to harm.

“Politicians must address the shameful imbalance that sees 86 per cent  of the world’s refugees welcomed by the world’s poorer countries while the wealthy ones renege on their responsibilities.”

Globally, one person in 10 would take refugees into their home, according to the survey.

Amnesty, along with the UN, is pushing for more than one million refugees to be resettled globally by the end of 2017.

The organisation is calling on all countries, including the Australian Government, to use next week’s World Humanitarian Summit to move from short-term and often abusive measures to deter refugees and agree to long-term, proactive and globally coordinated solutions.

Amnesty International refugee coordinator Dr Graham Thom said Australia has a long history of welcoming refugees.

“The overwhelming approval of the decision to accept 12,000 Syrian refugees is testament to that,” Thom said.

“Australia has always been a hospitable country: we showed this when refugees were in need in the wake of World War II, then again 30 years later following the Vietnam War, and again when Chinese students were seeking safety after the Tiananmen Square massacre.

“This Refugee Welcome Index is further evidence that the Australian Government should reconsider its current refugee intake policy: Amnesty continues to call on the government to increase the annual humanitarian intake to at least 30,000, prioritising UNHCR-approved refugees and for the resettlement of the 12,000 Syrian refugees to be completed fairly and efficiently.”


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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One comment

  • Avatar Andrew says:

    Rubbish, what kind of survey could possibly claim that they are representing 4 out of 5 Australians on any given topic. Good space filler…..calling it news would be a bit of a stretch I heard that 3 out of 4 would agree Lol

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