NEW DELHI: This past week world news has been dominated by a debate on Europe’s response to the growing refugee crisis. The crisis was brought in the spotlight by harrowing images of three year old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi lying dead on a Turkish beach. Last year, the number of people forced to flee their homes across the world has exceeded 50 million for the first time since the second world war. Half of these 50 million people are children, many of whom travel alone or in groups to escape war, famine, sexual violence and forced slavery.

Europe has found itself at the centre of this crisis, with world attention now focused on how European governments are responding to the growing number of refugees. The overwhelming public response to the image of Aylan forced world leaders to initiate immediate action. Unsurprisingly, there is no consensus on what this action should be, with Germany and France ordering the European Commission to come up with a new “permanent” and binding regime for spreading the refugee load around all of the 28 countries in the union.

Countries like France, Germany and Austria have opened their doors, with more than 16,000 refugees streaming into Austria since Saturday -- almost all of whom travelled on to Germany. "We must now, step by step, go from emergency measures to a normality that is humane and complies with the law," Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said.

France too has pledged to take on more responsibility. "We will do so because it is the principle to which France is committed," French President Francois Hollande said. Hollande added that the European Commission will propose distributing 120,000 refugees over the next two years, with France taking in 24,000.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron said that his country will take in 20,000 refugees over the next five years.

Munich has received more than 17,500 people in the past few days alone. On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country would pledge an additional €3 billion to the migrant crisis, adding that although Germany "is of course willing to accept more refugees," other countries need to do their bit.

A majority of these other countries disagree.

For instance, the government of Denmark paid for a series of ads in Arabic in four Lebanese newspapers to share information on its new, tightened restrictions. "We cannot simply keep up with the present flow," Immigration and Integration Minister Inger Stojberg, posted on Facebook. "In light of the huge influx to Europe these days, there is good reason for us to tighten rules and get that effectively communicated."

In Hungary, the right-wing government has erected a barbed wire fence along its more than 160-kilometer (100-mile) border with Serbia to prevent refugees from entering.

Europe, therefore, stands divided on the refugee crisis, with the UN and EU officials calling for a joint response from European countries. "We need concrete, coherent, rational political decisions in the sense of solidarity and responsibility, because European Union was built in decades after the second world war on the experience of that war, that made many of our Europeans flee and leave Europe," EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini told CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "Now we should remember our story and act following the same values and principles that have allowed us to build a continent in peace and prosperity.”

From the above it becomes clear that Europe has a central role to play in the current refugee crisis, with most commentary focusing on the policies of EU nations. The United Nations' refugee agency, UNHCR, estimates that more than 366,000 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe this year. Of that number, at least 2800 have died or disappeared.

There is a fair share of criticism -- deservedly so -- for countries who are not playing their part in resettling refugees. Lost amidst all this, however, is another part of the world -- which is also economically stable and peaceful, and therefore equally attractive to people escaping war -- that has remained silent on the refugee crisis altogether.

As Amnesty International points out, "six Gulf countries -- Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain -- have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees."

This was also pointed out by Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth, who Tweeted: "Guess how many of these Syrian refugees Saudi Arabia & other Gulf states offered to take? 0"

The map below, Tweeted by Luay Al Khatteeb, a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution, shows the number of refugees accommodated by Syria’s neighbours in comparison to the oil rich countries a little further South.

The gulf states are not signatories to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention -- which means they do not follow the rules and regulations that govern the rights of refugees.

And these gulf nations are probably the best positioned to accommodate refugees. Compare the average incomes for Qatar, $143,000; Kuwait, $71,000; or Saudi Arabia, $52,000 (according to International Monetary Fund figures), with that of Jordan ($11,000), which has received 630,000 refugees. Lebanon, whilst a little richer, has more than 1.2 million Syrians, making them roughly one-quarter of the total population. Turkey, which has a per capita income of $20,000 is home to 1.2 million Syrians.

The gulf nations claim that they are playing their part by providing aid for the rehabilitation of refugees. Saudi Arabia has given $18.4 million to the United Nations Syria response fund so far this year, while Kuwait has given more than $304 million -- making it the world’s third largest donor. “Burden sharing has no meaning in the Gulf, and the Saudi, Emirati and Qatari approach has been to sign a check and let everyone else deal with it,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch for its Middle East and North Africa division, as quoted in the New York Times.

It is not surprising, therefore, that people are calling for action from the oil rich Gulf States, who for the record, are not innocent bystanders -- having in varying degrees supported anti-government rebel militias in Syria. The Arabic hashtag #Welcoming_Syria's_refugees_is_a_Gulf_duty was tweeted more than 33,000 times in the past week.

The sentiment is perhaps best captured in the following cartoons: