Middle East & North Africa
Middle East & North Africa
Demetrios Papademetriou, President Emeritus of MPI and President of MPI Europe, explains the origins of the refugee crisis in Europe and discusses actions that Europe and other regions can take in the near and long term to address the flows.
Immigration to the United States from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has increased in recent years, rising to a total population of 1.02 million in 2013. Immigrants from the region come from a diverse range of countries and cultures. This data Spotlight delves into the variations among MENA groups on key socioeconomic indicators, from geographic distribution and language proficiency to employment, immigration pathways, and naturalization.
With a history of encouraging workers to emigrate to relieve unemployment at home, Tunisia now has 11 percent of its population living abroad. The factors underlying the 2011 revolution that sparked the Arab Spring have also fueled emigration desires for many Tunisians. This country profile explores historical and current trends in Tunisia from colonial settlement to the aftermath of the Arab Spring, and the new focus on migrant rights at home and abroad.
A discussion on the situation of Syrian refugees, recent developments in the region, and the U.S. humanitarian response, along with reports from recent fact-finding missions to the region by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Refugee Council USA. Speakers from both organizations, as well as a leading official in the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, discuss conditions for refugees in camps and urban settings, as well as U.S. policy regarding the Syrian crisis.
The number of people around the world forcibly displaced by conflict or persecution reached its highest total since World War II, with more than 51.2 million fleeing their country or displaced within it, the UN refugee agency reported in 2014. An estimated 13.6 million people have been displaced by conflicts in Syria and Iraq alone, constituting what the UN High Commissioner for Refugees dubbed a mega-crisis.
Increasing numbers of Westerners heading to Syria and Iraq to join jihadist organizations like ISIS have governments concerned about possible attacks at home by returning fighters. Several thousand fighters from Europe and other Western countries are believed among the foreign nationals involved in conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Lawmakers scrambled in 2014 to respond with new policies, including seizing passports, stripping citizenship, and criminalizing travel to "no go" zones.
Mass cases of exploitation and abuse of migrant workers have drawn international scrutiny and criticism of the kafala system in Gulf Cooperation Council countries and private recruitment practices in Southeast Asia. With Qatar under scrutiny amid a frenzied construction boom in advance of the 2022 World Cup, international organizations and human-rights groups in 2014 stepped up their campaign for worker protection reforms.