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Europe's Syrian refugee shame

December 14, 2013
tags:#asylum seeker, #Europe, #Syria, #refugees
org:Amnesty International
European leaders should hang their heads in shame over the pitifully low numbers of refugees from Syria they are prepared to resettle, says Amnesty International.

“The EU has miserably failed to play its part in providing a safe haven to the refugees who have lost all but their lives. The number of those it’s prepared to resettle is truly pitiful. Across the board European leaders should hang their heads in shame,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Key points of the briefing include:

  1. Only 10 EU member states offered resettlement or humanitarian admission places to refugees from Syria.
  2. Germany is by far the most generous – pledging to take 10,000 refugees or 80 per cent of total EU pledges.
  3. Excluding Germany, the remaining 27 EU member states have offered to take a mere 2,340 refugees from Syria.
  4. France offered just 500 places or 0.02 per cent of the total number of people who have fled Syria.
  5. Spain agreed to take just 30 or 0.001 per cent of refugees from Syria.
  6. Eighteen EU member states – including the UK and Italy – offered no places at all.

As winter approaches, conditions for the 2.2 million people who have fled Syria to neighbouring countries are deteriorating rapidly.

With only 12,000 places offered by EU member states for resettlement or humanitarian admission, others attempt the journey under their own steam. Tens of thousands have reached Europe trying to claim asylum having risked life and limb in arduous journeys, on boats or across land.

The research reveals that first they have to break through the barricades of Fortress Europe. Many are faced with violent push-backs by police and coastguards, or detained for weeks in deplorable conditions.

Amnesty International produced this film trailer parody about EU leaders, titled The Apathetics.

A refugee camp located in former military barracks in the town of Harmanli, Bulgaria  © NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images