Activity 2: Responses to the current refugee crisis

refugees preview image

How many refugees have fled their homes?

In December 2020, it was estimated that 82.4 million people worldwide were living away from their homes because they had been forced out.

The refugee crisis in Ukraine could create more than 4 million additional refugees

In this activity, you will explore news about how different countries have responded to the refugee crisis in Ukraine. You might have already done this in class.

Play the Responses video below and press pause to think about the question on the screen.

Pick one of the following questions and answer it below. Try to summarise your opinion in no more than FIVE sentences.

  1. Is America's response enough?
  2. Who should decide what help a country offers refugees - the government or the public?
  3. Is it responsible for a country to offer to help so many refugees - yes or no?

Comments (58)

  • British Council.jpg champion_elephant | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    22 Apr 2022

    In my opinion it should be the public that decide what help should be given well sadly I say this because the government of my country seems very inconsiderate and not just mine but I feel it should be the public because of the compassion.

    1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      champion_elephant's comment 26 Apr 2022

      I do not agree with you on that; Because the public is subject to the rulings of the ruling authority, so they give it as much as they can, while the government is in control of the whole matter, and when the public helps the government, the refugee gets everything that guarantees him a decent life.

      1. katie.jpg Katie @ Topical Talk
        willing_imagination's comment 26 Apr 2022

        That's an interesting thought willing_imagination. Could you suggest how the public might help the government?

        1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
          Katie @ Topical Talk's comment 26 Apr 2022

          The public offers assistance by accepting the presence of refugees. Many people do not like the presence of refugees in their country. When you accept an idea, you live with it and contribute to its success

    2. British Council.jpg noble_dinosaur | Kfarhatta Secondary Public School | Lebanon
      champion_elephant's comment 26 Apr 2022

      However don't you think that also the government should have a hand in it, to study the social, & financial capabilities to recieve huge amounts of refugees?

      1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
        noble_dinosaur's comment 30 Apr 2022

        No two disagree that the government should study the financial situation. As for social status, I don't know what they mean. If the intention is the demographics and gender among them, then this is not of great importance, and there is another point when refugees flow into a country, financial aid flows with them, so in my personal opinion, refugees have become a source of funding and the opposite of what is seen as a burden on the state

        1. katie.jpg Katie @ Topical Talk
          willing_imagination's comment 03 May 2022

          Can you explain what you mean by "when refugees flow into a country, financial aid flows with them"? Where does this money come from?

          1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
            Katie @ Topical Talk's comment 03 May 2022

            I think that the major countries take the initiative to help, and the Commission also helps many families. I learned from my friend that the Commission provides them with appropriate financial support, which means that they enjoy a normal life, and this guarantees them stability, practicing life, and working them in peace.

  • British Council.jpg noble_dinosaur | Kfarhatta Secondary Public School | Lebanon
    22 Apr 2022

    Q3: it actually depends on the country's social, and economical status, even if it's considered as a humanitarian act to shelter the refugees, it shouldn't be on the expense of the locals. To put it simply, a country should study it's capabilities of taking in a massive number of refugees so that it doesn't reflect negatively on its socioeconomical status.

    1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      noble_dinosaur's comment 26 Apr 2022

      I disagree with you on this, and the reason is that when refugees flock to our country, all the major countries provide humanitarian aid to this country, so look at it from the other side, which is that refugees may be in great numbers in numbers , so is the case in every country that has a plan Contingency, which you can use when needed, which means everyone is prepared when a conflict arises between two countries

      1. katie.jpg Katie @ Topical Talk
        willing_imagination's comment 26 Apr 2022

        This really made me think, willing_imagination! Are there any other things that countries should plan for so that they are ready to help people if they need it? And is it always right to save money and resources for the future when there are people in the world who need things now?

        1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
          Katie @ Topical Talk's comment 27 Apr 2022

          Yes, my friend, there must always be alternatives to every problem, and governments must take care of the structure of their country. The question that always comes to mind is why there are no shelters in most countries? And if they are, are they not taken care of as they should? Because the presence of places to hide and the provision of basic necessities reduces the search for safe places in other areas.

      2. British Council.jpg noble_dinosaur | Kfarhatta Secondary Public School | Lebanon
        willing_imagination's comment 26 Apr 2022

        Well, I strongly disagree with you willing_imagination, as you are talking about the "Perfect Plan" as when the war between Russia and Ukraine popped up, the Ukrainians were already receiving all types of help from leading countries out there, adding to that the countries around were alerted and shelters were prepared within Ukraine. However this doesn't always apply to each and every country, and civil wars aren't predicted, for example when the 2011 Syrian Civil War erupted no one expected it, so Syrian Refugees fled into Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan... To talk about my country Lebanon, everyone knows that the Lebense Government wasn't even giving the Lebanese Citizens their least rights, with this sudden flow of 1.5 million Syrian into Lebanon, the economy got worse, I guess we can all agree that countries aren't always prepared for receiving huge numbers of Refugees. Don't you think?

        1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
          noble_dinosaur's comment 27 Apr 2022

          I agree with you on this that some countries are not ready to receive refugees, so there must be a global protocol that forces countries to prepare alternatives in case of conflicts or even natural disasters so that there are no more crises with the influx of refugees.

          1. British Council.jpg noble_dinosaur | Kfarhatta Secondary Public School | Lebanon
            willing_imagination's comment 27 Apr 2022

            I think instead of forcing, the international community should take it to their hands and transfer some Refugees to countries that are actually prepared to sustain them.

            1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
              noble_dinosaur's comment 28 Apr 2022

              True, and this is a logical statement that we all agree on, but in many cases, coercion is the best way. Someone may say how is that? I tell him, human nature may slow down in its work, so perhaps in the beginning everyone will be active and ready to provide assistance, but with the passage of time many may begin to retreat, so I said a forced protocol everyone

            2. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
              noble_dinosaur's comment 05 May 2022

              Allow me to disagree with you on this opinion. Perhaps the refugee does not prefer to move to another country. Here the problem becomes bigger. He does not want to seek asylum again, and it will have a bad effect on his mental health. I will give you an example about myself. I am a refugee a long time ago when my grandparents sought refuge in Jordan. To immigrate again to another country, I think that I will become depressed because I heard from my parents about the suffering they were subjected to

  • British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    23 Apr 2022

    I will try to answer the first question: Is America's position sufficient on the refugee issue? On the other hand, when looking at the issue, we see that America dealt with double standards in refugee issues, and someone might say how is that? In the Syrian crisis, it only allowed them to enter its territory in complicated conditions, and did not grant visas to many of them, while now it deals with the issue of Ukrainian refugees completely differently, and is working to settle thousands of Ukrainians. Why this double dealing? Aren't they all refugees who fled their country in the same circumstances?

    On the other hand, someone may say that this transaction is governed by the laws of the country. I know that, but do the laws exclude anyone from them? Or do they apply to everyone? And if your response is that each case has its own circumstances, can you give me evidence that America treats everyone equally in this case?

  • British Council.jpg amazing_reflection | Shohour High Public School | Lebanon
    23 Apr 2022

    As an answer for question 2:
    Some would say that the government is the one who should decide what help a country offers refugees, as it was elected by the public so its responsibility to take decisions and the government is more familiar to what's the best can be done to the refugees from a side and for citizens on the other side.
    However, from my point of view , I would say that the public has to decide that as citizens are not financially equal, some are rich, some are poor and some are middle class, so some of the citizens may like to donate big amount of money as rich people, while poor may not be able to donate as they're suffering from financial issues, so the decision has to be from the public side.

  • British Council.jpg friendly_currency | Shohour High Public School | Lebanon
    23 Apr 2022

    Question 2: For a country that allows refugees in their lands , then I think that the government is tge one responsible with the decisions that helps refugees because only the government knows in the treasury of the central bank of the country so in that case they should know what they can offer and help with . Well, someone who disagrees with me and choose public, then the only way public can help with is donations that might be given for the refugees themselves or to the government and then to be given to them either as money or food supplies and usual needs .

    1. avatar.jpg Jane @ KPMG
      friendly_currency's comment 28 Apr 2022

      Hi friendly_currency, thank you very much for your answer. Could you please explain further why the fact that government knowing how much 'the treasury in the central bank of the country' as you said in your argument is better? Are there any advantages/disadvantages would you think for the help from the government ?

      1. British Council.jpg friendly_currency | Shohour High Public School | Lebanon
        Jane @ KPMG's comment 28 Apr 2022

        To clarify that , i meant that the treasury of the central bank only government can look for not the public, where as well government is the one and only responsible for any donation they might support them with . However, disadvantages may occur if the government didn’t pay attention to the payments where there will be unlimited access to the treasury which eventually will cause loss for the country it self . In another hand , I supposed that why don’t the public also donate with money or any needs for those refugees which also may help the country it self .

    2. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      friendly_currency's comment 01 May 2022

      Everyone knows that every country has a budget that it discusses at the end of each year. If there is an imbalance in this budget, the World Bank takes the initiative to provide assistance to this troubled country, but the question that may come to mind this huge money is where is it spent?? If it is spent in the right way, the presence of refugees will not be a burden on the state, because its budget can bear crises.

  • British Council.jpg aware_painting | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    23 Apr 2022

    The American response was not sufficient. It must stand on the crisis and find solutions to it. Its responsibilities must be the size of the crisis, as the huge numbers of Ukrainian refugees, which represent a burden on the narrow countries, require them to expand the circle of their obligations towards the refugees to ensure security and stability for all in the region. America is restoring its role and responsibility towards the refugees in a way that is commensurate with the gravity of the crisis.

    1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      aware_painting's comment 26 Apr 2022

      I agree with you. America, being a major country, had not enough attitude towards refugees. I have dealt with this issue twofold. In the case of the Syrian refugees, it imposed severe restrictions on them when they entered its territory, in contrast to what it did with the Ukrainian refugees, as it sought to resettle them and provide them with alternatives similar to what they have in their country .

      1. katie.jpg Katie @ Topical Talk
        willing_imagination's comment 26 Apr 2022

        If you had a chance to meet the president of America, what would you say to him about this?

        1. British Council.jpg aware_painting | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
          Katie @ Topical Talk's comment 29 Apr 2022

          Will the clear bias among the refugees remain America's owner of humanitarian principles and human rights, or has everyone realized that they are slogans that have nothing to do with reality?? Do you think that embracing the Ukrainians is America's feeling that it is the main igniter of the Ukrainian crisis?

        2. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
          Katie @ Topical Talk's comment 01 May 2022

          If I had the opportunity to meet him, I would discuss with him some of his country's laws on refugees and immigration. All people prefer to travel to America because it is from their point of view the country of dreams and aspirations.
          If you ask someone to which country you prefer to travel, he will remind you of America and France, and I think that these two countries are the most strict countries in dealing with the issue of refugees and immigrants.

  • British Council.jpg aware_painting | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    23 Apr 2022

    The government is one of the first aides because it has the authority on the ground, by facilitating asylum laws for refugees, and granting family reunification to refugees, because its official description gives it the right to take all the decisions it deems appropriate to the emergency situation occurring on it, collect donations from the public, organizations and associations, and invest them in building future for refugees

    1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      aware_painting's comment 26 Apr 2022

      Yes, it is true what you said about governments to help grant all measures to help gather families separated as a result of wars. How many stories have we heard about children who were separated from their families for many reasons.

  • British Council.jpg honorable_crow | Dr. Nazih El Bizri High School | Lebanon
    23 Apr 2022

    Question number 3 and yes every country that receives refugees should help them since it's its duty to help.

    1. avatar.jpg Olivia @ KPMG
      honorable_crow's comment 28 Apr 2022

      Why do you think someone may disagree with you @honorable_crow? Why might it be irresponsible for a country to take in a large number of refugees?

      1. British Council.jpg appreciative_pear | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
        Olivia @ KPMG's comment 30 Apr 2022

        I think that because when you receive numbers of refugees, it may negatively affect the people of the host countries, for example, that the fear of economic collapse does not withstand serious scrutiny, there is a concern that is based on a larger basis is that not everyone in the host country may benefit from a large influx for refugees. More refugees competing for jobs may reduce employment, employment and/or wages for the host country's population

        1. katie.jpg Katie @ Topical Talk
          appreciative_pear's comment 03 May 2022

          This is a fair point to make, however some research suggests that accepting refugees can actually boost a country's economy in the long run because many refugees are highly qualified, young people. How else might it benefit a country if it accepts and supports refugees?

      2. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
        Olivia @ KPMG's comment 05 May 2022

        I support the saying that receiving refugees supports the country's economy, perhaps at the beginning there will be pressure, but with the passage of time the situation will improve due to benefiting from the experiences of young refugees and they will give better ideas if they have the opportunity to improve their living conditions, so this helps to raise the level of the economy, not reduce it

  • British Council.jpg easygoing_flower | Kfarhatta Secondary Public School | Lebanon
    24 Apr 2022

    Question 2
    The government should be the one responsible for deciding what help a country offers refugees. The public have short vision. They deal with refugees in a humanitarian way. The government on the other side, studies the matter in various ways: how it will benefit the economy, how much the infrastructure of the country can handle those refugees,....Of course humanity is a motive, but it doesn't guarantee welcoming refugees.

    1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      easygoing_flower's comment 26 Apr 2022

      I do not agree with you. The infrastructure may be insufficient, but foreign aid is a source of change for that.

  • British Council.jpg pioneering_wilddog | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    24 Apr 2022

    The question that i want to answer it is the second .
    Well, we all know that the government and the public have a role in containing the refugees. The rols should not be unequal, because if the refugees were contained by the state, but they were notified that they are not welcome by the public, it would not help anything, also if the people contained the refugees and The state did not care about them, this is also not permissible. Conclusion It is not permissible for one party to work alone.

    1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      pioneering_wilddog's comment 26 Apr 2022

      I agree with you. Everyone must accept the presence of refugees so that they can coexist in the new society and forget the scourge of war.

  • British Council.jpg rational_grape | Makini Academy | Kenya
    24 Apr 2022

    Q3; yes.
    Because the refugees really need asylum and maybe not all countries will accept them and in some countries, they were not allowed to be helped by any person in the country until 1951 when all countries agreed to establish rights for refugees including the right to asylum. It is their responsibility to help the refugees because they can even come to the country to work and through their work, the government collects taxes which is national revenue. Through the national revenue, the government can build the country faster. For example, for every sale a retailer does, 15 shillings is deducted so, the bigger the population the more tax the government will earn.

    1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      rational_grape's comment 05 May 2022

      Yes, this is one hundred percent true, and I agree with it. As I said, the higher the population, the higher the taxes, and there will be new income for the state treasury.

  • British Council.jpg trusting_pear | Shohour High Public School | Lebanon
    24 Apr 2022

    1. I believe that America as a great rich country should do more to help Ukranian refugees such as welcoming more refugees and providing them with shelters, himes and life needs.
    2. For me such a big decision should be discussed and taken by the public and the government, since public must be welcoming refugees to not feel foreign and unwanted as for the government to invite refugees.
    3. It's Not responsible for a country to offer to help so many refugees but it depends on the country's ability and area to offer, like i believe that we all human, we're all the same without taking into consideration the nationality, we must have the right to live on any area we choose of this entire planet, so here's comes the responsibility of countries to offer help as much as it can to as much people as it can offer to help and help save populations.

  • British Council.jpg independent_technology | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    25 Apr 2022

    The second question : Who should decide what help a country offers refugees - the government or the public?

  • British Council.jpg independent_technology | Jabalia Prep Girls A School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    25 Apr 2022

    The second question : Who should decide what help a country offers refugees - the government or the public?
    I will choose the public :
    The public knows the nature of life more than the government, especially those whose financial level is weak or sufficient in a simple way. These will know what the refugees’ needs are. And most importantly, they know more about what they need and what should be available to them on a daily basis..

    1. avatar.jpg Rachel @ KPMG
      independent_technology's comment 28 Apr 2022

      Thanks for your comment independent_technology, what role do you think the government should play, if at all?

    2. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      independent_technology's comment 05 May 2022

      I do not agree with you that the public decides who helps the refugees because the public is not the authority, it follows the state. It is true that the public knows the needs as well. The government knows because they live in the same place and they know what the basic needs are. Therefore, the first decision is the government because it has the power and the public follows it in its decisions only, and they cannot always object.

  • British Council.jpg strong_bird | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
    29 Apr 2022

    hello i would like to
    The answer to the first question
    Is America's response enough?
    My answer is no, because America is the country of countries or the mother country, it has both the right to secure what other countries need, and America has many achievements, including:
    1)_ dissemination of human rights
    2)_ Withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal
    3)_ America is a peacemaker, through force
    4)_ Paris Agreement (unilateral)
    5)_ Uprooting ISIS from its roots
    There are many, many achievements for it, and this could be of paramount and great importance also for embracing refugees

  • British Council.jpg appreciative_pear | Shouka Prep Girls School | Occupied Palestinian Territory
    30 Apr 2022

    My answer to the first question: America did not respond sufficiently because the provision of assistance is material, moral and psychological, and it provided material assistance, as the refugees need more stability and psychological comfort more than financial assistance
    My answer to the second question:
    The public is responsible for this, because the public is the one who sets and elects, so they are the ones responsible!

  • St Michael's Middle School crafty_land | St Michael's Middle School A | United Kingdom
    04 May 2022

    I chose question 3, I think that everyone who can help in any country is in some way responsible, refugees are our fellow people, it is within their rights to be cared for and helped when in need. If we do not help then we are partially responsible for the problem in the first place.

  • St Michael's Middle School idealistic_volcano | St Michael's Middle School A | United Kingdom
    04 May 2022

    I think that Americas response is enough for now. The circumstances are badly but they have sent money and aid as well as offering places for refugees. If every country did what America was doing then people from Ukraine would have a lot less deaths. Obviously not all countrys have the money to send to Ukraine but prodividing safe places for refugees to go would help.

    1. British Council.jpg willing_imagination | Marka Prep. Girls School 2 | Jordan
      idealistic_volcano's comment 05 May 2022

      No, no, America's position was not sufficient in the case of the Syrian refugees, as it dealt with them harshly and complicatedly and did not allow them to easily enter its lands, which increased the suffering of the refugees wishing to seek refuge there. Why did you deal with the Ukrainians in the opposite way? Everyone knows that America is a controlling country. This means that it can compel everyone to receive refugees, so why did it not do that with itself?

  • St Michael's Middle School independent_clam | St Michael's Middle School A | United Kingdom
    04 May 2022

    Response to question 3:
    Yes it is relatively responsible for the countries to be accepting so many refugees into their countries. But I think more than just the couple countries should be letting refugees in. Because of this, countries like Poland who are letting the majority of Ukrainian refugees into their country, will be packed with them and there won't be enough room anywhere for them.

  • St Michael's Middle School meticulous_didgeridoo | St Michael's Middle School A | United Kingdom
    04 May 2022

    Is it responsible for a country to offer to help so many refugees - yes or no? I think it is responsible as we need to help people in need because otherwise they are going to suffer however, they also need to look after their own country as they need the supplies as much as the other countries and a lot of refugees would be hard. This act of kindness shows how we need to help other people more and support them in everything.

  • St Michael's Middle School considerate_owl | St Michael's Middle School A | United Kingdom
    04 May 2022

    Is it responsible for a country to offer to help so many refugees - yes or no? I think it is good to help people in need as everyone living in Ukraine are going through a tough time and need to feel safe. By offering to help refugees can help make a big difference to their lives.

  • St Michael's Middle School breathtaking_orangutan | St Michael's Middle School A | United Kingdom
    04 May 2022

    In my answer for question one I personally think that America have done good and donated to Ukraine, on the other hand they offered for refugees to seek safety in America but also suggested they should stay in Europe. I think that they should support and take in refugees as well as donating money.

  • St Michael's Middle School eager_salak | St Michael's Middle School A | United Kingdom
    04 May 2022

    my answer to the first question:
    yes and no, I get that they think the refugees should stay in Europe but I think they should allow any refugees to stay there. Also, I think its very good they are not only supporting Ukraine but also the countries welcoming refugees.

  • St Michael's Middle School brave_piano | St Michael's Middle School A | United Kingdom
    04 May 2022

    Question 1: I don't believe that America's response the the Ukrainian refugee crisis was enough because there are currently millions of refugees fleeing Ukraine at the moment and America suggesting that they should stay in Europe limits the amount of places they can take refuge, meaning that countries such as Poland are taking in massive amounts of refugees. We also have to keep in mind that only a few countries in Europe are accepting refugees from Ukraine and as America is quite a large and wealthy country, it would be logical to let more refugees come to their country. However, I can understand why America might not want large amounts of refugees traveling to their country as Ukraine is a long way away from a America and with the current situation with covid not being fully over, having a lot of refugees coming to their country can cause alot of complications.

  • British Council.jpg constructive_moth | Rhemaville Christian Academy | Nigeria
    04 May 2022

    The government controls the affairs of the state and is the representative of the people so it is logical to say that they should be the people to decide what help is given to refugees.
    However, on the other hand, the people should also have a say in this they make up a country and to which they government is in charge of. They should also have a say because there are both rich and poor people in a society and the economic capacity of a country should be taken into consideration when deciding what help will be given to refugees.
    Hence, Another way of looking at this question is that both the people and the government should have a say when deciding what help will be given to refugees. This will ensure that a decision that is largely accepted in a country is made in order to prevent a situation whereby the a one sided decision is made either by the government or by the people and both a the country as well as refugees suffer.

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