Why are the Gulf states so reluctant to take in refugees?

By Rana Jawad

Pristine Dubai is apparently no place for displaced Syrians. Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

Pristine Dubai is apparently no place for displaced Syrians. Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

Europe’s reaction to the refugee crisis has hardly been a calm and considered one; with fences erected and border controls reinstated, the continent’s governments are struggling to agree on a response. But at least Europe’s governments are acting. In the Middle East, things are rather different. In particular, the Arab Gulf States are catching serious flack for their response to the crisis – or rather, their failure to respond.

One big question is reverberating in the minds of the general public, expert observers and policy-makers; why have the Gulf states, who are among the richest countries in the world, not taken in any Syrian refugees? There’s no need to rewrite the commentary that’s already out there: many articles have provided useful statistics and background information on the international conventions and treaties the Persian Gulf countries are signed up to, and their failure to honour them.

What all this misses, though, is the general lack of social justice and a social welfare ethos in the Persian Gulf and Middle East in general. This is a complex story about the mindset of a region in disunity and disarray. Continue reading

Disasters as moments of Change

By Ayesha Siddiqi

Floodwaters have finally begun to recede in the North East of India, with the Indian Meteorological Department saying no further rain is expected in the next few days. This devastating disaster however has affected millions of people many of whom are still living in temporary shelters. These people need to be told that in the run up to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris (COP 21) countries were asked to submit their pledges for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)s are now revealing themselves to be highly unambitious and essentially “too little and too late” to prevent the most serious threats of climate change. Continue reading

Doctoral Training Workshop: Negotiating Politics and Policy – Exploring the challenges of research in international contexts, 9th September 2015

By Oliver Walton

In a recent article in Review of African Political Economy, Mark Duffield (2015) reflects on a re-visit to the fieldsite in Sudan where he did his doctoral fieldwork in the early 1970s. The article contrasts the research environment of his early visit – which was characterised by an inability to communicate with the outside world, a lack of interest in connecting research or the research process to policymakers, and few administrative hurdles from universities – with the current landscape for international research where the impact agenda, ‘territorial risk avoidance’, and the emergence of new technologies loom large. Duffield concludes that current pressures on researchers are undermining the space for ‘immersive’ research and leading to acceptance of a new state of affairs where ‘being in the world is no longer a requirement for generating knowledge of it’. Continue reading

Triangulation conversations and endgames

By James Copestake

With field work complete, the ART Project is now in its final stages; workshops in Ethiopia and Malawi during July brought many of us together to reflect on what we have learnt, and on what to do next. Many thanks to all who participated, especially to staff of Farm Africa and Self-Help Africa in both countries for hosting us. If I had to pick out one recurring theme from these workshops it would be triangulation – i.e. learning about the same subject by confronting data about it from acutely different angles.

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