UK is failing to take 'fair share' of Syrian refugees, Oxfam says
The UK and other wealthy nations have resettled less than 2% of Syrian refugees escaping the bloody conflict, falling far short of their "fair share", according to Oxfam.
Britain has so far pledged to take on less than a quarter of its fair quota, a figure calculated by the size of the economy, said the charity as it branded the figures "shocking".
Other countries that have been urged to increase their share are France, the Netherlands, the United States and Denmark.
Only Canada, Germany and Norway have made pledges exceeding their fair share.
Ahead of a summit on the refugee crisis to be held in Geneva this week, Oxfam said the wealthiest countries should pledge to take at least 10% of the 4.8 million registered refugees by the end of 2016.
The share equals around 480,000 people, although the richest nations have only offered places to under 130,000 so far, around a quarter of the minimum, according to campaigners who said only 67,000 had reached their final destination.
The charity warned that the burden was being placed on countries with fragile economies and weak infrastructures.
Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB, said: 'It's shocking that while people continue to flee Syria most countries have failed to provide a safe home for the most vulnerable.
"While the British government has been generous in providing financial aid, it's only offered to resettle 20,000 people by 2020. This is simply not good enough and Britain can and should do more."
According to Oxfam one in five people now living in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee and they account for 10% of the population in Jordan, where the fourth largest city is a refugee camp.
Mr Goldring said: "Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are struggling to cope with almost five million Syrian refugees. Rich nations should be doing more to share the responsibility and offer refuge to some of the most vulnerable women and children affected by this crisis."
The charity says 10% of the refugees who have spilled out of Syria are classed as the most vulnerable and in urgent need of resettlement.
The Foreign Office said over 5,500 Syrians had been granted asylum or other forms of leave in Britain since the start of the conflict in 2011.
More than 1,000 people have been granted asylum as part of the Government's pledge to resettle 20,000 asylum seekers under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Scheme.
So far, Britain has pledged £2.3 billion in humanitarian aid to Syria and neighbouring countries, as well as £55 million to tackling the migration crisis in the Mediterranean.
"The United Kingdom has been at the forefront of the international response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria," Minister for Syrian Refugees Richard Harrington said, as he explained how Britain was the second largest donor to the Syria crisis.