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Most people want to accept refugees, survey finds

Most people want to accept refugees, survey finds

A new survey of 27 countries found that significant majorities of people would welcome refugees into the country and even consider taking them into their home. The study, commissioned by Amnesty International, says four in five people would “welcome refugees in their country, community or home”. It’s a statistic, the rights group argues, that shows how governments turning their backs on refugees are “badly out of touch with reality”.

Globally, two out of three respondents agree that national governments should do more to help refugees fleeing war or persecution, according to Amnesty International. In 20 of the 27 countries, more than 75 per cent of respondents said they would let refugees in their country. Only 17 per cent said they would refuse refugees entry to their country; and only in one country, Russia, did more than a third of respondents say they refugees should be denied access.




The survey, carried out by GlobeScan, was based on national surveys of roughly 1,000 adults in each country conducted face-to-face, by telephone and over the internet in Thailand. In a few instances, the samples were urban-only, which doesn’t reflect a fully representative cross-section of public opinion.

Some pollsters would also argue that the structure of the survey’s key questions — in which respondents are obliged to answer whether they agree with a declarative statement — can lead to an “acquiescence bias”, where those surveyed are more inclined to give assent to the idea they’re offered. For example, respondents were asked the extent to which they agree with this proposition: “People should be able to take refuge in other countries to escape from war or persecution.”

Nevertheless, given all the drama sparked by refugees in the West, the figures are quite staggering, particularly in places like Germany, where an influx of migrants has rocked the country’s domestic politics.

The considerable proportion of people who would be willing to welcome refugees into their own homes is also rather heart-warming — and, in the case of China, rather curious.

—By arrangement with The Washington Post

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2016

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