Talking points: Do countries with a lot of open spaces have a responsibility to accept refugees?

Talking points: Do countries with a lot of open spaces have a responsibility to accept refugees?

Hate it when you can't talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong


Migrants cross the border between Greece and Macedonia.
Photo: AFP

Naz Iraj, 17, St Margaret's Girls' College

Forget about responsibility. Countries with wide-open spaces should accept refugees from war-torn countries out of compassion at least. They seem to be the only ray of hope for the asylum-seekers.

However, a country may refuse to take refugees if it is facing serious economic or social problems.

Overall, I can't think of any reason why a prosperous country should refuse to accept refugees.

Cheung Chun-yin, 16, S.K.H. Tsang Shiu Tim Secondary School

I would say it's not their responsibility to accept asylum-seekers. There could be many difficulties. For a start, the refugees may not get along with locals. Different lifestyles could lead to conflict between the two groups. This could also damage the host nation's relationship with countries from where the refugees came.

Then there's the extra burden on tax-payers. They cannot be asked to pay for the welfare of thousands of people who have suddenly "invaded" their country. I think nations should try to strike a balance between providing for their own people and the asylum-seekers.

Grace Yu, 16, Sacred Heart Canossian College

My answer is a definite "no". First, accepting refugees does not benefit these countries. Their governments have to put in a lot of effort to settle them and calm down the unhappy locals.

Second, new policies would have to be introduced to ensure that the refugees are well looked after, and their rights are respected. This "refugee crisis" could easily upset the development plans of those countries and affect their economy.

Third, a government should have the freedom to choose whether to take in refugees or not based on the country's interests.

Fourth, we need to urgently solve the problems in war-torn countries. Accepting refugees won't help at all.

All in all, there is no obligation for European governments to accept asylum-seekers.

Titus To Cheuk-lam, 16, Ma On Shan Tsung Tsin Secondary School

There is no excuse for European Union nations not to welcome the refugees. They are responsible for the safety of people who have fled wars in their own countries. The governments of all EU countries should show sympathy to the asylum-seekers and help them.

It would be best if each EU country took in roughly the same number of refugees. This would also help solve the problem of their ageing population.

Andrew Larm, 18, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

The European governments are not responsible for the wars in the Middle East and Africa which have led to thousands of people fleeing their countries. They have no obligation to help the refugees who pose a severe burden to their hosts.

The asylum-seekers haven't paid any taxes or made any contributions to society. If public funds are used to solve their problems, it is unfair for the citizens of those countries. We need to quickly bring peace to war-torn countries. That's the best way to help the victims of war.

Tell us what you think in the comment box below.

You're welcome to join the conversation. In our next Talking Points, we'll discuss:

What is a fair minimum wage for workers in Hong Kong?


We are now accepting answers from readers for this new topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age and school, plus a hi-res photo of yourself (no less than 1MB), to by Monday lunchtime next week.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Do countries with a lot of open spaces have a responsibilityto accept refugees?


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