As the United Nations struggles to deal with the size of the refugee crisis in Europe as well as Africa, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has said her country is ready to welcome more refugees “with open arms”.
On Monday, Rousseff said “even in tough times of crisis, such as now, we will welcome refugees with open arms.” She was addressing her country on Brazilian Independence Day. Brazil has taken in more than 2,000 Syrian refugees, exceeding the United States.
Hundreds of thousands of people have loaded into boats in the past few months to risk the dangerous journey to Europe, seeking primarily to escape the ISIL and conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa.
“I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the government’s willingness to receive those who, having been expelled from their place of origin, want to come here to work and contribute to Brazil’s peace and prosperity,” Rousseff said. Syrians are the largest refugee group in Brazil.
Dramatic images from last week, especially a photograph of a Syrian toddler drowned on a Turkish beach, have created new political pressure to open doors, even in countries far away from the scene of crisis.
The image of the drowned Syrian child Aylan Kurdi “touched all of us and presented the world with a challenge,” said Rousseff, noting Brazilian society is made up of different ethnicities.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pushed the state to agree to take in 800,000 people expected to arrive in Germany this year.
Britain is to resettle up to 20,000 refugees from Syrian refugee camps over the next four and a half years, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced. He has clarified that the UK will not take in refugees crossing the Mediterranean sea into EU.
The US, meanwhile, has accepted only 1,500 Syrian refugees so far since the civil war broke out in 2011, and the White House said last week it did not anticipate any changes to its current policy.
Compared with the overall number of 4 million Syrian refugees, the uninspiring US numbers have provoked strong reaction.
In 2013 there were 2.5 million Syrian refugees. The US accepted 36 of them. http://t.co/ZemhebNHNF
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) September 7, 2015
Europe is catastrophically screwing up its refugee crisis. But that crisis exists only because the US everybody screwed up Syria policy.
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) September 1, 2015
TBP and Agencies