Search Results

Sort by
News

Tens of thousands of workers trapped in highly abusive conditions

Lebanon’s restrictive and exploitative kafala (sponsorship) system traps tens of thousands of migrant domestic workers in highly abusive conditions amounting, at worst, to modern slavery. The law fails to protect the workers, and the establishment…
Protestors holding banners calling for the abolishment of Lebanon's controversial kafala sponsorship system.
News
Shortly after Denmark began telling Syrian refugees that parts of Syria are "safe" and stripped them of their temporary protected status, I talked to a 31-year-old refugee who voluntarily returned to Syria from Jordan in December 2020. He told me…
A streetview of destroyed buildings in a city
News
In early April, about 400 foreign employees of RAMCO, a Lebanese construction, facility, and waste management company, went on strike to demand payment in US dollars and better working conditions. The strike, believed to be the first of its kind among…
202006mena_leb_migrantworkers
News

The Reality for Refugees in the EU-Turkey Stand-Off

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s cynical move to open his western EU borders to allow refugees and migrants to leave - while keeping his southern border to Syria shut to asylum seekers desperate to escape the onslaught there - poses an enormous…
Refugee being taken away by Greek police
News

From bad to worse

    Hardly anyone in Lebanon has been left unscathed by the economic crisis, the worst since the end of the civil war in 1990. Its impact has been most devastating on communities already marginalized prior to the crisis. The…
Migrant workers protest in Beirut, Lebanon.
News

Dismantled Shelters is One of Many Push Factors Syrian Refugees Face

I met then-two-year-old Jana and her family this past June as I was passing by their shelter in the ibn Waleed camp in Arsal, Lebanon. Jana’s mom, Badoor, came up to me, holding Jana in her arms. “Please come inside, my daughter is sick…
A partially dismantled shelter in a Syrian refugee camp in Arsal, Lebanon, June 20, 2019.
News
"I was deported with about 35 Syrians on a large bus. They handcuffed us and…they beat some of the men on the bus with truncheons when they asked to go to the toilet or for water. We all spoke with each other [and] no one wanted to go back to Syria…
Turkish authorities have used the Cilvegözü border crossing, pictured here on March 3, 2015, to deport Syrian refugees. © 2015 Getty Images
News

The London summit this week could kick-start the revival of the stalled reform process in the region – but won’t if human rights and the rule of law stay off the agenda

  Western Balkan and European Union leaders meet in London this week for a summit that could be a chance to revive stalled reforms and focus attention on critical issues. Unfortunately, there is every chance it will turn out to be full of hot…
Migrants are seen in front of a dorm destroyed during Bosnian 1992-1995 war, in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina May 11, 2018.
News

Lebanon cannot force returns without contravening international law

In the past month, Lebanon has seen a number of troubling developments regarding the presence of Syrian refugees, with leading politicians heightening calls for the return of refugees to Syria and making unfounded accusations of an…
Syrian refugees prepare to return to Syria from the Lebanese border town of Arsal, Lebanon, June 28, 2018. © 2018 Reuters
News
  Some politicians in Lebanon, host to the world’s largest per capita refugee population, are looking for signs that it may be safe for Syrian refugees to go home, even as the violence there continues.  Seven years into the Syria…
Bar Elias, a town in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, has become home to Syrian refugees who were evicted from the Rayak air base, and have settled here in informal encampments.
News
In a no man's land along the Syria-Jordan border, an estimated 55,000 Syrians escaped the horrors of Syria's conflict only to languish, abandoned in the desert as one country after another evades responsibility for their safety and…
Syrian refugees carry belongings as they return to Syria after crossing the Jordanian border near the town of Nasib, in the southern province of Daraa, on August 29, 2017.
News
‘They will kill us all,” “Ahmad,” a Syrian aid worker, told me last month, referring to the many armed parties to the Syrian conflict. We were talking about Idlib, a province in northwest Syria that is home to around 2…
Syrian Man Carries Children After Barrel Bomb Attack
News

Regardless of if you look at United States, Europe, or the Pacific, the global asylum system is quickly falling apart.

The broad outlines of President Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy veers from build-a-wall isolationism to jingoistic sabre rattling, but in one dimension it has been sadly consistent: the stance that refugees should…
Demonstrators march outside the Trump Building at 40 Wall St. as part of a protest against the US government's refugee ban in New York on March 28, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
News
Recent statements by leaders and governments in the United States, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan indicate an interest in creating so-called safe zones in Syria. While no detailed plans for creating and managing such…
An internally displaced Syrian woman walks in the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp, near the Syrian-Turkish border, northern Aleppo province, Syria, December 26, 2016.
News
A new residency policy announced last month waiving hefty residency fees for some Syrian refugees in Lebanon is a step forward for many people desperate for a secure legal status here. But it leaves many others out in the cold. Lebanon…
A General Security officer stands by as a Syrian bus driver carries the passports and departure cards of Syrians arriving in Lebanon.
News
Hungary’s governing party is cranking up the heat on nongovernmental organizations.  With its tight grip on parliament, and having undermined the courts and the media, the Fidesz government doesn’t like being held to account by pesky independent…
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks during his state-of-the-nation address in Budapest, Hungary, February 10, 2017.
News
Amin, 18, became a refugee when his family fled Syria for Lebanon five years ago. He has not set foot in school since. With his father unable to get legal status or work, responsibility for supporting the family of seven fell to Amin. A seventh grader…
Fahd, 15, originally from Syria, is not in school. Instead, he works in construction in the Bekaa Valley.
News
Europeans who want to see a better future for Syrian refugee children can be proud: the European Union has given hundreds of millions of euros to help them go to school in the beleaguered countries near Syria. But good luck tracking where that…
Wa’el, 13, and Fouad, 7, originally from Idlib, study outside their home in Jounieh. Their mother, Kawthar, 33, struggled to enroll them in school, and eventually withdrew them due to concerns about the quality of education and transportation costs of US$
News
  Q&A: Why the EU-Turkey Migration Deal is No Blueprint On March 18, 2016, the European Union signed an agreement with Turkey to stem migration and refugee flows to Greece. In 2015, over 850,000 people reached Greek islands by boat…
News
(Istanbul) – What 15-year-old Rawan, a Syrian refugee living in Istanbul, wants most is simply to be back in school. In Syria, she’d been a good student with hopes of attending university, but now her future looks bleak. “It’s like we put our dreams in…
Bara’a, 10, originally from Ghouta, Syria, leaves for school from her informal refugee camp in Mount Lebanon.