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Canada one of only three countries to resettle ‘fair share’ of Syrian refugees

Canada one of only three countries to resettle ‘fair share’ of Syrian refugees

March 30, 2016

Oxfam’s new analysis shows that only three countries – Canada, Germany and Norway – have made resettlement pledges exceeding their ‘fair share’, which is calculated according to the size of their economy. As Minister McCallum meets with state representatives from over 80 nations in Geneva today to discuss the Syria refugee crisis, Oxfam urges others to follow Canada’s lead and redouble their efforts to offer their ‘fair share’ of support to hundreds of thousands of refugees.

"Countries with a strong economy, good services and developed infrastructure can immediately resettle refugees– if they choose to." said Julie Delahanty, Oxfam Canada’s Executive Director.

“Canada has pledged 239% of our calculated contribution – that demonstrates strong and admirable leadership on Syrian refugee resettlement. We hope the Canadian Government can persuade other world leaders to do the same.”

Countries included in Oxfam’s analysis need to offer safe and legal routes to more Syrians fleeing the conflict, and increase their share of resettlement to fairer levels. France has only pledged to take four percent of its fair share, the Netherlands and the United States seven percent each, Denmark 15 percent and the United Kingdom 22 percent. Together, rich countries have resettled only 1.39 percent of the nearly five million Syrian refugees, a fraction of those who need to be urgently offered a safe haven.

Oxfam calls for the resettlement, or other forms of humanitarian admission in rich countries, of 10 percent of all registered refugees by the end of 2016, the equivalent of around 480,000 people. Collectively, rich nations have so far offered places to 129,966 people, only 27 percent of the minimum they should. And of those, only 67,000 have actually made it to their final destination.

In Lebanon, one in five inhabitants is a Syrian refugee. In Jordan, they constitute 10 percent of the population, and the fourth largest ‘city’ is a refugee camp.

"These countries have fragile economies and weak infrastructure. They can no longer shoulder this responsibility virtually alone. The Geneva meeting should result in urgent solutions, offering people safe and legal routes to a welcome in third countries," said Delahanty.

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Notes to Editors:

– The fair share analysis is available here 

– 67,108 Syrian refugees have been resettled since 2013 according to information drawn from publicly available sources including the UNHCR and checked with government sources where possible

– Previous fair shares are available here for 2014 and here for 2015.

Resettlement is an option whereby a third county (i.e. not the one the refugee has fled from, or the country of first asylum or habitual residence) offers refugee status in its territory to an individual. For example, this could mean a refugee from Syria living in Jordan being offered status, and related reception and integration support, in Canada.

Humanitarian admission programs are similar, but normally involve expedited processing, and may provide either permanent or temporary stay depending on the legislation or policy of the state offering this option.

Other forms of admission could include allowing Syrian refugees legal access to third countries by relaxing requirements for entry visas to work and study, not necessarily based upon their vulnerabilities.

Asylum is when civilians are facing persecution or other risks resulting from armed conflict or massive violations of human rights. They have a right to flee to safety across international borders and request asylum in another country. States have specific obligations towards asylum seekers under international law, particularly the obligation not to forcibly return them to harm.

Relocation refers to the transfer of asylum-seekers from one European Union (EU) Member State to another. It is an intra-EU process, in which Member States agree to process some of the caseload of States who are receiving a large number of asylum-seekers on their territory.

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