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By shunning refugees Europe is failing to honour its treaty obligations

"Europe, as a whole, needs to honour its Treaty obligations, and all European Union member countries need to share in the responsibilities that come with membership.The European Union was established on the basis of being a project of peace and a commitment to upholding international law. The fact that we have signed up to the UN Human Rights Declaration means that we are obligated, by law if not by moral conscience, to accept people claiming refuge when they are fleeing war, violence, and persecution.

"Germany has offered to take more than 800,000 refugees in response to the current crisis. Sweden already hosts more refugees per head of population than any other European Union country. Britain has taken in fewer than 300 refugees and our political representatives are sticking their heels in over taking in any more.

"If we move the focus away from EU countries we see that the country hosting the largest number of refugees is Turkey, which has taken in 1.59 million refugees. Lebanon, which had a population of 4.5 million before the crisis, has taken in over a million Syrian refugees and has a longer standing population of close to half a million Palestinian refugees.

"The continued political and media focus on the numbers of people claiming refuge in Europe rather distracts from the fact that Europe only takes in about 5% of the world’s total refugee population. 86% of refugees are hosted in poorer countries. Europe, being the wealthiest continent on the planet can afford to take in more refugees. Indeed, Europe’s wealth is not unrelated to the poverty and misery in other places.

"We can and must take more refugees. As Peter Sutherland commented on Newsnight (2 Sept.), when asked how many refugees Britain should take, ‘this is not a numbers game … where it stops is when the crisis stops’."

Gurminder K Bhambra, Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick

For further details or to speak to Prof. Bhambra please contact Nicola Jones, Communications Manager, University of Warwick, Tel: 024 761 50868, Mob: 07824 540863