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

Jordan has become the West’s warehouse for Iraqi refugees

(This blog is a repost – originally posted at THE CONVERSATION)

By Jason Hart

Swamped as we are with media outrage and political rhetoric about asylum seekers “invading” Europe, we tend to forget that the vast majority of displaced people find refuge in countries far beyond EU borders. The numbers are huge, and the burden upon typically impoverished nations can be immense – far beyond any scenario that impassioned advocates of enhanced “border control” in the UK have so far conjured up.

Continue reading