Support for providing refuge has dampened in many countries

Woman and child.
Woman and child. Photo: Mads Schmidt Rasmussen

Three-quarters of adults continue to believe that those fleeing war or persecution should be able to seek safety in other countries according to a major survey on global attitudes published in the run-up to World Refugee Day 20 June.  

However, support for providing refuge has dampened in a number of countries from the high levels in 2022 in the aftermath of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

World Refugee Day banner.
World Refugee Day banner.

Denmark, Finland and Sweden included in the survey

Five hundred people in three of the Nordic countries were included in the survey Denmark, Finland and Sweden, which was conducted for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

In general the three Nordic countries are more postive towards refugees than the 52 countries on average.

Sweden with 81% positive responses stood out on the general question of whether people should have the right to seek asylum. Denmark (74% and Finland 71%) were close to the average of 73%.

Women and children.
Women and children. Photo: Mads Schmidt Rasmussen

Positive impact

Sweden also scored highest (59%) on the positive impact of refugees on society, or the fifth highest of the 52 countries surveyed. Denmark (46%) is close to the average (44%) and Finns are not far behind (40%).

Denmark (47%) scores highest of the three on the question of succesful integration of refugees while the other two countries (Finland 40%, Sweden 40%) are considerably under the global average (51%).

A migrant family.
A migrant family. Photo: UNHCR.

Finland 61%) and Sweden (55%) were closer to the average (61%) when asked if they considered that asylum seekers were economic migrants in disguise rather than real refugees. On the other hand fewer, or 50%, in Denmark agreed with the question.

However, it should be noted that only the samples in Denmark and Sweden were considered representative of their general adult populations under the age of 75.

Refugees learning to bike in the bicycle loving Nordic countries.
Learning to bike in the bicycle loving Nordic countries. Photo: Mads Schmidt Rasmussen

Solidarity with refugees

This year, World Refugee Day focuses on solidarity with refugees – for a world where refugees are welcomed. Solidarity means “keeping our doors open”, celebrating the strengths and achievements of refugees, and reflecting on the challenges they face.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls for global solidarity and a collective world responsibility in his message on World Refugee Day.  “Let us pledge to reaffirm the world’s collective responsibility in assisting and welcoming refugees … in upholding their human rights including the right to seek asylum.”

Number has tripled

The number of refugees has tripled in the last decade. At the end of 2023, there were 43.4 million refugees globally. In 2023, nearly 1.1 million refugees returned home. Last year only, the global refugee population increased by 7 per cent to reach 43.4 million during the year.

While refugees and migrants ‘rights differ, they both face severe common risks on routes. Threats such as life-threatening situations, rape, torture, kidnapping, arbitrary detention, robbery, and human trafficking are present risks for both refugees and migrants.