The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has continued to face extensive levels of displacement, particularly over the past ten years. With conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, the Arab region hosts 53 per cent and 67 per cent of the refugee and forcibly displaced populations worldwide, respectively. Tense security conditions and political unrest in many parts of the MENA region remain a significant challenge.
On a separate yet related note, several countries in the region have become essential transit points along the irregular migration routes used by refugees and migrants in “Mixed Migration Flows.” To this end, UNHCR works closely with the League of Arab States (LAS) and its Member States1 to enhance the protection space for people forced to flee. The legal document regulating the LAS-UNHCR collaboration is a general agreement signed in 2000, later amended through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2017. In this MoU, both organizations advocate for access to safety and protection from refoulement; reinforcing registration and refugee status determination; promoting legislative frameworks; addressing the risks of statelessness; ensuring security from violence and exploitation; and working towards durable solutions, including increased resettlement efforts for refugees and asylum-seekers.
UNHCR and LAS organize regular coordination meetings and capacity-building sessions at the sectoral, regional, ministerial, and expert levels. These sessions aim to enhance the dialogue with the concerned authorities on refugees and provide assistance in developing their policies on asylum, statelessness, internal displacement and mixed migratory movements.
Thanks to the partnership with UNHCR, the League of Arab States has adopted three strategies to enhance the protection of refugees in the region:
The Arab Strategy for the Protection of Refugee Children in Asylum Context in the Arab Region, 2019.
The Arab Strategy on Access to Public Health Services in Asylum and Displacement Contexts in the Arab region, 2019.
The Arab Strategy on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Asylum and Displacement Context, especially Sexual Violence against Women, 2021.
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees