Displacement in the Middle East

UPDATE: The deadline for submissions for this issue has now passed. Details of the proposed scope of the issue are given below. If you would like to be notified when this issue is available online, please sign up for our occasional email alerts at www.fmreview.org/request/alerts

Due out February 2018

Deadline for submission of articles: Monday 23rd October 2017

The Middle East currently is both the source and recipient of the largest numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) globally. While Syria and Yemen are at the core of the largest-scale displacements at the moment, there is significant displacement in and from other countries too, as far apart as Iraq and Libya. In the longer term, there are now third- or fourth-generation Palestinian refugees. While the Syrian crisis is now in its seventh year and the number of registered refugees from Syria nears five million, others in the region – from Iraq and Palestine, as well as refugees coming from outside the region, such as Afghans, Sudanese and Somalis – remain in situations of protracted displacement, whether as refugees in neighbouring countries or third countries, or as internally displaced persons. Whether they bring costs or opportunities, all those who are displaced are in need of protection.

The issue of responsibility sharing has been gaining attention as a result of concern – both negative and positive – about refugees in many parts of the world, but especially in the Global North. As the international community moves towards the adoption of a Global Compact on Refugees, there is a growing focus on international cooperation and responses from actors outside the regions where displacement is occurring. Most countries in the Middle East region that are hosting refugees are not Parties to the 1951 Refugee Convention, yet these countries have accepted far more refugees than many of the countries that have ratified the Convention or its 1969 Protocol. Understanding the perspectives of these governments, of the refugees themselves and of local host populations in relation to responsibility sharing is imperative for helping to find solutions for those who have been displaced to countries of asylum across the region.

Sustainable peace can make it easier to find solutions for those who have been displaced; at the same time a failure to address displacement can have a negative impact on peace processes. Although they have a strong interest in peace processes, refugees, IDPs and stateless persons are often excluded from peace negotiations, rarely feature in peace agreements, and are frequently left out of peacebuilding initiatives. The absence of women historically in these processes is notable.

This issue of FMR will provide a forum for practitioners, advocates, policymakers, researchers and those directly affected by the issues to share experience, debate perspectives and offer recommendations. In particular, the FMR Editors are looking for practice-oriented submissions, reflecting a diverse range of experience and opinions, which address questions such as the following:

  • How have the protection needs of displaced people in the Middle East changed in recent years?
  • What have been the effects of Syria’s war and displacement on refugees and IDPs in other countries in the region?
  • How has the Syrian crisis affected the power balance in the Middle East? How has displacement affected the stability of countries in the region? And what prospects are there for transitional or durable solutions for displaced people in the region?
  • How are specific protection risks faced by different groups of refugees being addressed by host governments and humanitarian actors?
  • In which specific ways do the gendered dynamics of conflict and displacement manifest themselves in the region? How should the understanding of these dynamics inform strategies and responses?
  • How do local, regional and international responses to displacement in the Middle East affect each other positively or negatively?  
  • What have been the implications for the countries involved that have not signed the Refugee Convention or its Protocol?
  • Have assistance and protection programmes of ‘traditional’ and non-traditional humanitarian actors been appropriate? Have non-traditional donors brought new approaches?
  • What role has the private sector played to date, and what shape might its future contribution take?
  • What has been the contribution of technological and other types of innovation - both by displaced people and by other actors - in differing contexts and locations?
  • What humanitarian responses and development approaches have there been, particularly in situations of protracted displacement, and how effectively have they interacted? What potential is there for more effective, coordinated approaches between humanitarian and development actors?
  • What civil society initiatives are there to support and protect displaced people?
  • How have host communities dealt with and responded to displacement? How have relations or tensions between the displaced and their ‘hosts’ affected both groups?
  • How are refugees and host populations coping with the costs and impacts of displacement in terms of livelihoods, housing, employment and food security?
  • What are the economic impacts of displacement and what economic interventions are being put in place to address them?
  • What are the policies of regional governments related to job creation and economic support for or integration of displaced people?
  • What are the dimensions of displacement from causes other than conflict?
  • What are the causes of new incidences of statelessness within the region, and in what ways can these be addressed and mitigated?
  • What are the main approaches in conflict mitigation for the region, and how could they be more effective?
  • How can refugees and IDPs be included in peacebuilding efforts and negotiations? What can be learned in this regard, and in regard to the involvement of women, from other peace negotiations and other peace agreements, including outside the region?
  • Are the needs and aspirations of specific potentially vulnerable groups among the displaced populations – such as women and girls, children and young people, the elderly, people with disabilities – being taken into consideration both in responses and in peace process involvement?