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Executive Summary for May 19th

We review the most recent issues related to refugees including global statistics on the world’s willingness to welcome refugees, the hundreds of refugee children missing in Sweden and Turkey’s response to an E.U. head’s remarks on the unraveling refugee deal.

Published on May 19, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Majority of the World Willing to Welcome Refugees

Four out of every five people would welcome refugees “with open arms,” according to a new global survey commissioned by Amnesty International, the Refugees Welcome Index.

The human rights organization asked some 27,000 people across 27 countries whether or not they would be willing to accept refugees and 80 percent responded with “Yes, we will!”

“These figures speak for themselves,” Amnesty International secretary-general Salil Shetty said in a statement. “People are ready to make refugees welcome, but governments’ inhumane responses to the refugee crisis are badly out of touch with the views of their own citizens.”

Of the 27 countries included in the index, China, Germany, the U.K., Canada and Australia were rated the most accepting, with the majority of respondents willing to welcome refugees into their neighborhoods or homes. According to the global average calculated by Amnesty International, one in every ten people is willing to accept refugees into their own homes.

“This survey suggests governments are not listening to the silent majority of welcoming citizens who take the refugee crisis personally,” Shetty said.

Russia scored the lowest on the index, but one of the most surprising findings was Turkey’s second-to-last ranking among populations who believe people fleeing war or persecution should be able to apply for asylum in other countries. The Turkish government says it has an open-door policy for refugees and has taken in some 2.7 million Syrians since the start of the conflict in 2011.

Hundreds of Refugee Children Missing in Sweden

At least 313 refugee children have gone missing in Sweden since the start of this year, according to the latest figures published in Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

This year’s numbers are en route to steeply surpass figures from 2015, which saw 420 children go missing.

Swedish officials said it was still difficult to know the cause of the disappearances.

“If the disappearance comes after a decision, it is often triggered by an asylum rejection, but if it happens before a decision it is not as certain what triggered it,” Kjell-Terje Torvik, who works with the Swedish Migration Agency, told SvD. “How will you find food? How will you get money? For an adult to give you money they might demand a quid pro quo, such as sexual services or committing crimes.”

Last year, more than 160,000 people fleeing violence in the Middle East and Africa applied for asylum in Sweden and so far, at least 32,000 applications have been accepted. Among the asylum seekers who came to Sweden in 2015 were more than 35,000 unaccompanied minors.

Turkey Angry Over E.U. Comment on Migrant Deal

The head of the European Union’s delegation to Turkey, Hansjorg Haber, was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Thursday following a statement he made last week regarding the refugee deal.

The move is yet another blow to the already shaky refugee deal between the E.U. and Turkey.

Speaking about Turkey’s request for visa-free travel to Europe as part of the deal that would stem the flow of refugees to the E.U., Haber cited a Turkish proverb – “starting like a Turk, finishing like a German” – which insinuates a slow start and efficient finish.

Haber used the proverb to describe Turkey’s progress in passing all 72 benchmarks necessary for approval of visa-free travel to the E.U., and added that the Turks’ advancement on the issue was “the other way round.”

Turkish officials described the comment as humiliating.

“The German ambassador of the E.U. should explain to the Turkish nation what he meant when he said ‘like a German and like a Turk.’ No diplomat and especially no ambassador can address the president of a country where he is posted for his job like this,” Turkey’s E.U. affairs minister Volkan Bozkir wrote on Twitter. “This is the first rule of diplomacy.”

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