The 2015 refugee crisis demonstrated the need for increased commitment towards
providing settlement to refugees. However, the question remains – who should be responsible.
Addressing the refugee problem requires adequate resources that developing countries alone
cannot mobilize. Consequently, wealthy nations should be responsible for providing refugees
from other regions of the world with shelter. Even though wealthy nations have no legal mandate
to provide asylum, they should shelter refugees as a matter of humanitarian concern.
According to Winchester (2019), world leaders are responsible for assisting those who
suffer dreadfully without shifting blames. For example, Eastern European countries should
increase their refugee uptake to address a humanitarian concern. These countries’ primary
concern should be how to help those seeking asylum settle and feel secure and peaceful in their
new places and not blaming their countries of origin for the problem. Many countries that host
refugees do not bear the burden of entirely taking care of their needs since global agencies and
philanthropists provide aid. There may be concerns about the disruption of social order, but that
can be managed without rejecting refugees.
Wealthy nations should also provide shelter to refugees as a form of redress for
international issues. Refugees’ predicaments have been associated with wealthy nations’ actions
in developing countries. Wealthy nations may respond that their action or inaction in refugees’
countries of origin are for the common good. However, their efforts in those countries create a
responsibility to offer redress for refugee predicaments. For example, France and Britain's
actions in Libya left many people devastated while others sought asylum elsewhere. The Syrian
case also demonstrates that wealthy nations should take responsibility for their efforts in the
affected countries. The gains of their interventions may be long-term, but the refugee problem
cannot wait for a country to stabilize over many years (Winchester, 2019). It would be ethical to
assist those who are suffering because of actions by wealthy nations. The steps may be right, but
doing them requires the goodwill to help those who they affect. Countries such as Denmark,
Norway, Germany, France, and Japan should not close their doors to refugees but accept
numbers that they can sustainably host.
Additionally, compensation comes into the picture when responsibility is involved.
Wealthy nations support coercive institutions that disenfranchise the already suffering people in
war-torn countries. The benefits of these institutions mainly accrue to the wealthy nations.
Hence, they owe a responsibility of compensation to refugees who would otherwise be better off
without coercive institutions that breed conflict. Again, compensation is not a legal duty, but
developed countries can develop policies for sheltering refugees based on their involvement in
Lastly, wealthy nations have the resources to provide homage to the world's refugees,
gaining a comparative advantage in foreign relations. One could argue that if wealthy countries
have the resources to host the Olympics and world cup, and other massive events, they can
shelter refugees. The point here is that they do not need to benefit from hosting refugees, but
rather utilize their excess capacities to help others (Bauböck, 2017). Therefore, wealthy nations
should be responsible for providing shelter to refugees from other parts of the world since it is a
humanitarian concern; it would help them provide redress and as compensation.
Bauböck, R. (2017). Refugee protection and burden-sharing in the European Union. JCMS:
Journal of Common Market Studies, 56(1), 141-156. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcms.12638
Winchester, J. (2019). Refugees in an age of anger: Why the “Developed” World Should Help to
Clean Up the Messes That Have Led the Refugees to Flee, and How to Welcome
Refugees Without Provoking a Backlash. Eco-Ethica, 8, 187-