IOM, ESCWA, and UNHCR launch the Situation Report on International Migration in the Arab Region 2021

Cairo, Egypt The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Bureau for the Middle East and North Africa launched the 2021 edition of the Situation Report on International Migration in the Arab Region.  

The 2021 edition of the report is the result of joint efforts led by ESCWA, IOM and UNHCR, and has been supported by 11 other United Nations agencies and members of the Issue-based Coalition on Migration in the Arab Region. The findings of the 2021 Situation Report on International Migration in the Arab Region confirm that migration and forced displacement are major areas of concern and policy interest in Arab countries. The report underlines long-term challenges and vulnerabilities experienced by migrant and refugee populations, many of which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Arab region remains a prominent region of origin and transit, and one of the top destinations for international migration and forced displacement. In 2020, Arab countries hosted almost 15 per cent of migrants and refugees worldwide, with 12 of the 22 Arab countries hosting 14 per cent of migrant workers globally. Moreover, nearly 9.3million refugees sought protection in the region. In terms of outward migration, 32.8 million people migrated or were forcibly displaced from Arab countries, 44 per cent of whom remained within the region.

The Situation Report further explores policy developments in the Arab region. Between April 2019 and December 2020, Arab countries adopted an array of policies, regulations and measures related to migration, asylum, and statelessness governance. Arab countries also engaged in various dialogues and cooperation processes at the regional, subregional, and bilateral levels.

The main policy developments during the reporting period addressed labour migration; irregular migration; admissions, visas and residency permits; access to services, including health services; trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants; forced displacement and refugee protection; expatriate and diaspora governance; and other measures affecting migrant and refugee rights.

The Situation Report highlights key data and information on migration in the region. It explores current trends, patterns and drivers of migration and presents key findings for each sub-region. The Situation Report also introduces the latest policy developments relating to migration in the region.  

In response to the current context and challenges, the Situation Report sets out recommendations for systematic changes to migration policies needed to protect basic human rights and empower migrants and refugees, particularly in times of crises. The recommendations align with the objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and those of the Global Compact on Refugees and offer a roadmap for action.


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