Migrant crisis: Majority would welcome refugees - survey

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Tens of thousands of refugees currently live in makeshift camps in Greece

A majority of people (80%) would accept refugees in their country, with many even ready to take them into their own home, a global survey suggests.

The Refugees Index, research commissioned by Amnesty International, indicates that China, Germany and the UK are the most welcoming nations.

It also suggests that the most negative attitudes towards refugees are in Russia, Indonesia and Thailand.

The survey questioned 27,000 people in 27 nations.

Governments 'out of touch'

They were asked whether they would accept refugees in their home, their neighbourhood, their city (town or village), or their country - or if they would refuse them entry altogether.

The 27 nations across all continents were then ranked with the average (median) score.

China emerged top of the list with the overall index score of 85.

Just under half of people, 46%, questioned in the country said they would welcome refugees in their own home; 42% were prepared to accept them in their neighbourhood, city or country; while 6% said they would refuse them entry to China.

Germany was second top, scoring 84.

Only 3% of Germans would refuse refugees entry to the country.

The UK (83) was in third place with 58% of those questioned prepared to accept refugees in their country, with 11% refusing.

Much of the current migrant crisis has seen the focus on those fleeing the conflict in Syria.

The UK government has agreed to accept 20,000 from established refugee camps in the region over the next five years.

Germany has allowed more than a million migrants to enter, many of them Syrians, over the past year, though it is now among several countries to have tightened border controls in response to the flow through Europe.

The Amnesty survey suggests that people in several countries with large numbers of refugees would still welcome more of them, with Greece (65) and Jordan (61) being in the top 10 of the index.

Meanwhile, Russia (18) was placed bottom of the list.

Still, Amnesty said that the overall findings showed that people were willing to go to astonishing lengths to welcome refugees in their own country.

"These figures speak for themselves," Amnesty's Secretary General Salil Shetty said.

"People are ready to make refugees welcome, but governments' inhumane response to the refugee crisis are badly out of touch with the views of their own citizens."

Mr Shetty added that the survey showed "the shameful way governments have played short-term politics with the lives of people fleeing war and repression" and have too often used "xenophobic anti-refugee rhetoric to chase approval ratings".

The survey was carried out by GlobeScan strategy consultancy.

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.