Center for American Progress

RELEASE: The Global Community Must Do More to Alleviate Refugee Crisis
Press Release

RELEASE: The Global Community Must Do More to Alleviate Refugee Crisis

Washington, D.C. — The forced displacement crisis has been percolating for years but is only now fully entering the global consciousness with scenes of massive camps in the desert and people huddled in train stations and on boats. Today, the Center for American Progress released a report that explores the numbers behind the crisis and urges the United States, its Middle Eastern allies, and European Union member countries to more effectively respond not only to the challenges of refugees but the equally pressing problem of internally displaced people—those forced to flee their homes but unable to leave their home country.

“Not only do countries need to be more welcoming to refugees,” said John Norris, CAP Senior Fellow and co-author of the report. “We need a much more robust response to the conditions that are driving forced displacement in the first place, particularly with regard to indiscriminate barrel bomb attacks in Syria.”

Every day in 2014, the world averaged 42,500 new refugees and internally displaced people, or IDPs. Not since World War II has the world seen this many refugees and IDPs. The international response to these refugees has been woefully inadequate and deeply uneven. The United States and United Kingdom have only pledged to accept comparatively low numbers of refugees, and news reports show that Hungary—one of the key points many refugees are taking to reach other parts of the European Union—have completely shut their doors. Important Gulf states such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have made important financial contributions to aid refugees but have been more reticent to accept them within their borders. Germany and some other nations have stepped up, accepting nearly half a million refugees. But in many other EU nations, bureaucratic barriers stand in the way of a more effective response to the crisis.

The report calls for several recommendations—both immediate and long term—that the United States, Gulf States, and the European Union should take to address this crisis. They include:

  • The U.S. should follow the call from humanitarian groups to accept at least 65,000 Syrian refugees in the next year, with the understanding that the U.S. could accept even more if needed.
  • Key Gulf states including Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia should loosen work permit restrictions for Syrian refugees, ramp up their humanitarian giving, and move to become signatories to the U.N. refugee convention.
  • United Nation member states should hold an emergency special session to address the displacement crisis and work with the private sector to focus on livelihoods and the best ways to integrate refugee populations into their new communities.
  • The Dublin Regulations—which govern the EU’s bureaucratic approach to refugees—should be altered to better reflect the proportions and urgency of the present crisis.

Click here to read the report “Crisis in Context: The Global Refugee Problem” By John Norris and Annie Malknecht

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.