A crowd-funding campaign has been launched to raise $3bn (£1.94bn, €2.6bn) to buy an island to house the world's refugee population. Millionaire Jason Buzi hopes to create a new country through the campaign, which he says "any refugee, from anywhere in the world, can call home".
The Refugee Nation project has set up campaigns on crowd-funding sites IndieGoGo and GoFundMe, with nearly $1,400 (£904, €1,233) raised across both platforms in less than a week. The project has set out a clear timeline of events running up to the establishment of a refugee nation in 2020 that would "accept any and all refugees and displaced people".
Speaking to IBTimes UK, Buzi said: "It was heartbreaking to see and read about the refugee crisis getting worse and worse, and no-one proposing any permanent solution. So I decided it was time to act." He said that he originally had the idea for a refugee nation eight years ago, but that he hadn't published his proposal until now.
Real estate mogul Buzi hopes to include billionaires and governments in his fundraising plans for the new refugee country, which he says would host up to 60 million people. He said that billionaires and government officials would be the ones who "can make this idea a reality" and is encouraging them to purchase the land and persuade governments to be open to the idea of selling land for the purpose of the project.
Buzi said that islands in the Caribbean and the South Pacific would be most ideal for the project as these regions are home to uninhabited islands and small countries. Another option is to buy an island that has a small population and that would be willing to let other people live there. He also spoke about modelling the new country on Singapore, calling the south-east Asian country a good "role model".
"In the Caribbean, one example is the island nation of Dominica," Buzi told IBTimes UK. "It's an island the size of Singapore with only 75,000 people. Singapore has over 5 million people. And by the way, Singapore is the wealthiest country by far in south-east Asia and is multi-racial and multi-religious."
The Refugee Nation project said that crowd-funding was the best way to raise awareness about the project, as well as raising funds at the same time. While the campaign has drawn criticism from some who think that the idea isn't realistic, others have praised Buzi for the initiation. The millionaire hopes to "get more people talking about it" before they start campaigning for governments to get on board through petitions and letter-writing campaigns to members of congress.
Buzi said: "If we could purchase a few islands for Refugee Nation, it would solve an urgent humanitarian crisis."