New “Refugees Welcome Index” shows government refugee policies out of touch with public

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23 May 2016
[International Secretariat]
Topic: Refugees and Migrants


The vast majority of people (80%) would welcome refugees with open arms, with many even prepared to take them into their own homes, according to a global survey commissioned by Amnesty International.

The new Refugees Welcome Index, based on a global survey of more than 27,000 people carried out by the internationally renowned 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 survey shows people say they are willing to go to astonishing lengths to make refugees welcome. It also shows how anti-refugee political rhetoric is out of kilter with public opinion.

Refugees Welcome Index measures levels of acceptance for first time

The Refugees Welcome Index was prepared by asking 27,000 people in 27 countries how closely they would accept refugees on a sliding scale: in their home, their neighbourhood, their city/town/village or in their country – or if they would refuse them entry to the country altogether.

The results show people willing to go to astonishing lengths to make refugees welcome:

  • 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%).

People support access to asylum, want governments to act

The survey used to construct the Index also asked two other questions about access to asylum and current refugee policies.

Access to asylum:

  • 73% of people agreed that people fleeing war or persecution should be able to take refuge in other countries.
  • Support for access to asylum is particularly strong in Spain (78% strongly agree), Germany (69% strongly agree) and Greece (64% strongly agree).

Governments should do more to help refugees:

  • 66% of people said their governments should do more to help refugees.
  • In several countries at the heart of the refugee crisis, three-quarters or more still want their governments to do more, including Germany (76%), Greece (74%) and Jordan (84%).
  • The least support for more government action came from Russia (26%), Thailand (29%) and India (41%).

World Humanitarian Summit: Share responsibility for protecting refugees

To respond to the global refugee crisis, Amnesty International is calling on governments to resettle 1.2 million refugees by the end of 2017. That is far more than the 100,000 per year governments are currently taking annually, but less than a tenth of the 19.5 million refugees in the world today.

Amnesty International is also calling for governments at next week’s World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on 23-24 May to commit to a new, permanent system for sharing the responsibility to host and assist refugees.

【About GlobeScan】

GlobeScan is a strategy consultancy specializing in stakeholder intelligence and engagement in the areas of reputation, sustainability and purpose. We help global companies, multilateral organizations and international NGOs build stronger, more trusting relationships with their stakeholders to deliver long-term success. 

For more information, please visit

19 May 2016