Two small Middle Eastern countries, Lebanon and Jordan, host 4.3 million – more than 20 percent – of the world's 21 million refugees.
Combined, Jordan's and Lebanon's native populations total less than 11 million, representing less than 0.15 present of the world's total population.
Yet somehow these two small and economically challenged nations have managed to open their doors to more than 20 percent of the world's refugees, according to a report published this week by Amnesty International .
Jordan hosts the largest number (2.7 million) of refugees in the world, followed by Turkey (2.5 million), then Pakistan (1.6 million) and Lebanon (1.5 million). Though Lebanon officially hosts 1.5 million refugees, many experts believe the number is much higher since many are unregistered, possibly pushing the number 2 million. Often Syrian refugees do not register with the United Nations out of fear of backlash or because they do not know how.
Top ranking host countries in the region--Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iran-- officially host more than 7.6 million refugees, more than one third of the global refugee population.
The report highlighted the fact that merely ten countries are hosting more than 50 percent of the world's refugees. In addition to the previously mentioned countries, these include Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ugand, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad.
"That situation is inherently unsustainable, exposing the millions fleeing war and persecution in countries like Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq to intolerable misery and suffering," Shetty said.
Criticizing the west and other wealthy countries for neglecting to accept higher numbers of refugees to alleviate the crisis, Amnesty said: "It is not simply a matter of sending aid money. Rich countries cannot pay to keep people 'over there.'"
Economically, the influx of refugees has taken a serious toll on countries like Lebanon and Jordan, which already struggle economically to deal with the issues of their own native populations. This affects everything from the rate of unemployment, health services and education.
"It is time for leaders to enter into a serious, constructive debate about how our societies are going to help people forced to leave their homes by war and persecution. They need to explain why the world can bail out banks, develop new technologies and fight wars, but cannot find safe homes for 21 million refugees, just 0.3% of the world’s population," Shetty said.