New poll shows overwhelming support in UK for refugees

By agency reporter
May 19, 2016

More than three quarters of the British public would accept refugees in their neighbourhood or home, according to a new Amnesty International survey published yesterday (18 May 2016), showing that anti-refugee political rhetoric is “out of step” with public opinion

The survey, carried out for Amnesty by internationally renowned consultancy GlobeScan of more than 27,000 people across 27 countries to gauge public attitudes towards refugees, also found that 70 per cent of British people think the UK government should do more to help those fleeing war and persecution.

The results from the majority of countries in the survey show that most people are ready and willing to accept refugees. Globally, two out of three people think that their governments should do more to help refugees fleeing war and persecution, and 80 per cent would accept refugees in their country, city, neighbourhood or home. GlobeScan has ranked public opinion in order of the countries most accepting of refugees – the UK comes third after China and Germany.

The survey is published ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul next week (23-24 May). Amnesty is calling on governments to commit to a new, permanent system for sharing the responsibility to host and assist refugees.

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said: “The results show that the British public is overwhelmingly supportive of refugees and reflect what we are seeing in communities up and down the country. Local organisations are campaigning for their councils to take in refugee families, grassroots groups are collecting supplies for Calais or organising fundraising comedy or music nights and individuals have been heading as far as Greece to volunteer in refugee camps.

“The survey reveals that anti-refugee political rhetoric is out of step with reality. The UK government must go to the World Humanitarian Summit and commit to playing its part in dealing with the refugee crisis, and it can do so confident that British citizens are ready and willing to welcome refugees, not only into the country, but also into their neighbourhoods and even their homes.”

* Amnesty International

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