Journal Article

Dealing with non-Palestinian Refugees in the Middle East: Policies and Practices in an Uncertain Environment


in International Journal of Refugee Law

Volume 18, issue 2, pages 333-353
Published in print June 2006 | ISSN: 0953-8186
Published online June 2006 | e-ISSN: 1464-3715 | DOI:
Dealing with non-Palestinian Refugees in the Middle East: Policies and Practices in an Uncertain Environment

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  • Human Rights and Immigration
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Despite the relevance of the issue in Middle Eastern politics, the study of non-Palestinian refugees and their treatment in the region is a subject that has received little attention in the academic community. This paper attempts to fill this gap by examining the evolution of refugee policies in the Middle East between two of the major events that have characterized the region in the last decade, the 1990-1991 and 2002-2003 ‘Gulf Crises’, and by critically analysing the factors that have influenced these developments. In mapping the legal and administrative provisions that Middle Eastern governments have devised to address the issue, I observe that no substantial breakthrough in formal policies has occurred. Overall, refugee policies in the region remain far from the standards of the international refugee regime. In turning to the ‘politics’ of refugee policy in the region, however, I show that this area has been more dynamic than the sole focus on formal aspects would indicate. This is apparent if we look at the issue of refugees in the Middle East from the perspective of the relations between local authorities and UNHCR, the main players involved in this policy area. Despite the difficult environmental conditions, negotiations have been ongoing throughout the 1990s, and they have led to some limited improvement in the treatment of refugees. Yet, with the deterioration of the regional and international political context, such promising developments have recently come to a standstill and this fact is reflected in the general worsening of the condition of refugees in the area.

Journal Article.  9878 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration ; Refugee Studies

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