Displacement in the Middle East and North Africa: Between an Arab Winter and the Arab Spring | Ifi Working Paper
Working Paper | August 2013
Displacement in the Middle East and North Africa: Between an Arab Winter and the Arab Spring by Shaden Khallaf
The Middle East and North Africa region has been rife with volatility and turmoil for decades due to inter-State conflict, military occupation, intra-State power struggles, international sanctions, strained economic systems, social transformations, high population growth, varying illiteracy rates, high unemployment and underemployment, poverty, gender inequalities, extremism, and an overarching lack of transparency in dealing with these daunting challenges. On the displacement front, the region has also seen its fair share of refugee crises, from the world’s largest and most protracted one, that of Palestinian refugees, to the Sudanese, Somali, Western Saharan, and Iraqi refugees, to those who fled the recent conflict in Libya, to those who continue to be internally displaced in Yemen, and finally to the dramatically large and ever increasing numbers currently fleeing the conflict in Syria. Despite the magnitude and almost continuous nature of the flows of forced displacement over several decades, the region has also been characterized by having largely informal, sometimes ad hoc, systems of dealing with refugee issues, which raises concerns among analysts and practitioners about their consistency, comprehensiveness, and predictability in providing effective protection and assistance to those who need it most.