The expanding Syrian refugee crisis — the worst refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide more than 20 years ago — highlights the differences among countries that welcome desperate migrants and those that don’t. Here’s a country-by-country look:
Germany: As Germany faces the largest share of Syrian requests for asylum in Europe, Chancellor Angela Merkel called for quotas to be set for each country to take a share of displaced people, including from Syria. There could be 800,000 applications for asylum in Germany this year, and the country could take 500,000 refugees annually for several years, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has said.
Sweden: Sweden joins Germany in demonstrating a high standard of responsibility in the refugee crisis, and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven joined Merkel at a press conference this week in urging a Europe-wide solution for hosting refugees. In the 1990s, Sweden accepted 84,000 refugees from the Balkans.
France: French President François Hollande has said France is ready to take on more responsibility and host 24,000 refugees over the next two years.
United Kingdom: The United Kingdom will likely see an upswing in asylum requests now that it has said it will take up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years. But Britain will focus on resettling vulnerable refugees from camps in countries bordering Syria, not those who have already entered Europe.The refugees will receive a five-year humanitarian protection visa. Britain has been the second largest provider of humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees within the Middle East region.
Denmark: Denmark has received a relatively large number of Syrian asylum requests but has sought to discourage the arrival of more migrants. The country earlier had paid for ads in Arabic in four Lebanese newspapers to get the word out about its new, tightened restrictions — such as reducing social benefits — to try to prevent refugees from getting into the Scandinavian nation.
Hungary: Many Syrian refugees are reluctant to register an asylum application in Hungary. Having traveled north through the Balkans, those arriving on the country’s border with Serbia have had police greet them, and they’ve been forced to wait, sometimes for days, in holding areas and transit camps, where conditions are said to be poor. Hungary’s right-wing government, which has been trying to stop the flood of migrants, has erected a barbed wire fence along its more than 160-kilometer (100-mile) border with Serbia to prevent them from crossing there.
United States: Only about 1,500 Syrian refugees have been admitted to the United States since the start of the conflict in 2011, the vast majority of them this fiscal year. In the face of growing questions about such small numbers, President Barack Obama ordered his administration to “scale up” the number of Syrian refugees — at least 10,000 in the next fiscal year, a White House spokesman said Thursday.
Canada: More than 2,370 Syrian refugees have resettled in Canada since January 2014, and the government promised in January to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees over a three-year period.
Australia: Prime Minister Tony Abbott said his country would take in an extra 12,000 migrants fleeing conflict in the Middle East. Priority would go to persecuted minorities — especially women, children and families — who are in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, Abbott said.
Saudi Arabia: 0
United Arab Emirates: 250,000