Middle East

Middle East

Migration Experts Series | Ninette Kelley
Ninette Kelley, director of the New York office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), discusses her paper, “Responding to a Refugee Influx: Lessons from Lebanon.” The paper is available in a special collection of the Journal on...

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Responding to a Refugee Influx: Lessons from Lebanon
Between 2011 and 2015, Lebanon received more than one million Syrian refugees. Already beset by political divisions, insecure borders, severely strained infrastructure, and over-stretched public services, the mass influx of refugees further taxed this small country. That Lebanon withstood what is often characterized as an existential threat has primarily been due to the remarkable resilience of the Lebanese people. It is also due to the unprecedented levels of humanitarian funding that the international community provided to support refugees and their host communities. The refugee response was not perfect, and funding fell well below needs. Nonetheless, thousands of lives were saved, protection was extended, essential services were provided, and efforts were made to improve through education the future prospects of close to half-a-million refugee children residing in Lebanon. This paper examines what worked well in Lebanon and where the refugee response stumbled, focusing on areas where improved efforts in planning, delivery, coordination, innovation, funding, and partnerships can enhance future emergency responses.

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Leveraging the World Cup: Mega Sporting Events, Human Rights Risk, and Worker Welfare Reform in Qatar
Qatar will realize its decades-long drive to host a mega sporting event when, in 2022, the opening ceremony of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup commences. By that time, the Qatari government will have invested at least $200 billion in real estate and development projects, employing anywhere between 500,000 and 1.5 million foreign workers to do so. The scale of these preparations is staggering — and not necessarily positive. Foreign workers are subject to conditions of forced labor, human trafficking, and indefinite detention. This article examines whether it is possible for Qatar’s World Cup to forge a different legacy, as an agent of change on behalf of worker welfare reform. First, it locates the policy problem of worker abuses in the context of the migration life cycle. Second, the article frames worker welfare as a matter that lies at the intersection of business and human rights. Ultimately, this paper outlines four policy proposals that may be undertaken by countries of origin, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, and Qatari employers: (1) the development of a list of labor-supply agencies committed to ethical recruitment practices; (2) the devising of low-interest, preferential loans for migrants considering employment in Qatar; (3) the establishment of a resource center to serve as a one-stop shop for migrant information and services; and (4) the creation of training programs to aid migrants upon their return home. The above four policy proposals constitute a process-specific, rather than actor-specific, approach to reform aimed at capitalizing on the spotlight of the World Cup to bring about lasting, positive change in Qatar’s migrant labor practices.

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