World becoming less tolerant of migrants

Refugees and migrants, from the destroyed Moria camp, walk near a new temporary camp, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, on Tuesday.
Refugees and migrants, from the destroyed Moria camp, walk near a new temporary camp, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, on Tuesday.
Image: REUTERS/ YARA NARDI

The world is becoming less tolerant of migrants, according to a poll released on Wednesday as Europe prepared to unveil a new asylum plan after a blaze at an overcrowded camp in Greece that left thousands without shelter.

Seven European countries, led by North Macedonia, Hungary, Serbia and Croatia, topped the Gallup index of the world’s least-accepting countries.

But the sharpest changes in attitudes were in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, which have seen an influx of Venezuelans fleeing turmoil at home.

Canada was the most welcoming country towards migrants, followed by Iceland and New Zealand, according to the index based on more than 140,000 interviews in 145 countries and regions.

The poll asked people their views about having migrants living in their country, becoming their neighbours and marrying into their families.

Index scores ranged from 1.49 in North Macedonia to 8.46 in Canada, just below the maximum possible score of 9.

Gallup migration expert Julie Ray said the slight global fall in acceptance — 5.21 in 2019 down from 5.34 in 2016 — was driven by marked changes in Latin American countries.

Peru’s score tumbled to 3.61 from 6.33 in 2016, while the number of Colombians who said migrants living in their country was a good thing dropped to 29% from 61%.

The first Gallup Migrant Acceptance Index was conducted amid the backlash after the 2015 migrant crisis in Europe when more than a million people headed to the continent.

EU countries have long been at loggerheads over how to handle the influx of migrants.

The bloc’s executive were to unveil a plan on Wednesday which would legally oblige all members to host their share of refugees — something rejected by Poland and Hungary.

Among European countries, only Sweden and Ireland made the Gallup top 10 of most-accepting countries.

The US ranked sixth. Ray said supporters of US President Donald Trump were far more accepting of migrants than the global average, scoring 7.10. Thomson Reuters Foundation


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