NGO Amnesty International (AI) said that the inability of world leaders to come up with a coordinated plan to help combat the plight of refugees "will define their legacy for generations to come," with violence in the Middle East, Africa and Asia seeing global refugee levels rise to "unprecedented levels." In a statement, Amnesty said:
"The response to these global refugee crises has been shameful, particularly from the world's richest countries, which have ignored appeals for humanitarian aid and to resettle vulnerable people.
"Wealthy countries have offered resettlement places to only around a tenth of the 1.15 million people who need them. Meanwhile, developing counties are hosting millions of refugees with almost no support."
Developing Countries Bearing the Brunt
While much attention has been paid to the impact the influx of refugees has had on European countries, Amnesty noted that:
"The reality is that poorer countries are being forced to bear the brunt of coping with the refugee crises."
According to AI, 86 percent of the world's 19.5 million refugees are living in developing countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
While aid agencies have applauded some European countries, such as Germany, who is expected to receive upwards of one million refugees this year, others have been condemned for the approach taken towards new arrivals.
Countries like Hungary have been heavily criticized for putting up razor wire fences to prevent refugees from entering, while the UK has been accused of backing out of its international responsibilities after only pledging to accept 20,000 Syrians over the space of five years.
Humanitarian organizations have said that it's important to put the figures into perspective, noting that countries such as Turkey (more than 2 million), Lebanon (1.5 million), Pakistan (1.5 million) and Ethiopia (660,000) have a much larger number of refugees, which is placing an increased strain on their economies.
Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, has urged leaders to come to an agreement on how to deal with the crises during November's G20 meeting.
"When the G20 leaders meet next month in Turkey, they should not leave the room until they have a concrete plan with clear timelines to guarantee full and sustainable humanitarian funding for the world's multiple refugee crises; anything less will be an utter failure of leadership."
"Instead of rising to the challenge of this unprecedented crisis, many governments have been busy devising ways to keep people outside their borders while thousands are dying at sea or enduring squalid conditions in the shadow of razor-wire fences. This is moral bankruptcy of the highest order."
Plan to Tackle Issues
While Amnesty officials agree that refugee cries will not end unless the root causes of such problems are addressed, they are calling on world leaders to take action in the meantime to ensure the safety of many of the world's refugees.
Along with boosting funding for UN humanitarian operations, AI has called on governments to ensure that there is an increase in safe and legal routes for people looking to seek asylum in wealthy countries, as part of a plan to avoid refugees falling prey to people smugglers.
Aid agencies have also called on governments and community groups to actively work on reducing xenophobia and racism that some refugees may encounter in their new countries. According to AI, this includes any rhetoric "implying or directly claiming asylum-seekers and migrants are to blame for economic and social problems."