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The BCARS Bulletin

The Boston Consortium for Arab Region Studies (BCARS) is pleased to launch a series of bulletins covering essential themes relating to Arab Region policy and research. Throughout 2019 and 2020, bulletins examining how citizenship is located at the nexus of several overlapping issues related to displacement, human rights, and the role of civil society in the Arab Region.  Previous bulletins explored issues related to displacement and migration. 

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Citizenship in Context: Tunisia 

June 2021: While Tunisia’s social and political transformation is often seen as a before and after of the 2010-2011 uprisings, its evolution and approach to social, economic, and cultural issues has been evolving for decades and continues to do so after the revolution that ousted Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. There is no doubt that the country has made great strides in further expanding, protecting, and re-imagining citizenship rights over the past decade, with the uprisings being a transformational pivot point. Specifically, Tunisia’s progressive Personal Status Code was amended in 2010 to uphold the equal right of all citizens (more inclusive of but not equal for all genders) to confer nationality to their children at birth.

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Citizenship in Context: Jordan

April 2020: Jordan has been a haven for different groups fleeing persecution throughout history, and for several decades has been hosting prolonged refugee populations. With a population of roughly 10 million, a majority of people residing in Jordan today have a different country of origin. Palestinian refugees arrived in the country in 1948, again after 1967, and continue to arrive as their displacement remains ongoing. Iraqis came to Jordan in the wake of the first Gulf War, and again as a consequence of the U.S. invasion in 2003. Most recently, Syrian, Sudanese, and Yemeni refugees have also sought safety in the Hashemite Kingdom.

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Climate Change Displacement: Through the Lens of Citizenship and Belonging with Case Studies from Middle East and North Africa 

December 2019: Although the connection between climate change and human migration was first noted in 1976, that connection only became part of public discourse in the 2000s. Every year, more people around the world are forced to leave their homes due to climate-related events; by 2050, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 200 million people may be displaced in this way. However, the international regime on refugees as it exists today is ill-suited to accommodate 'climate migrants' as a group, and climate migrants do not receive the same legal protections as those termed 'refugees.' 

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Citizenship in Context: Lebanon

April 2019: Lebanon is a place where plurality abounds. The struggle to unite so many people with different national origins, religious backgrounds, and political leanings has come to define the country over time. In this context, those who are lacking citizenship rights, classified as “stateless” people in Lebanon, and those at risk of statelessness, are among the most vulnerable and marginalized people in the country, facing a range of restrictions on their access to basic rights and services. Stateless Lebanese, Palestinians residing in Lebanon, refugees, migrants, trafficked individuals, and children all experience statelessness, placing their citizenship rights in jeopardy.

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The Crisis and Future of Citizenship in the Arab Region

December 2018: Millions of citizens across the Arab Region increasingly are excluded from exercising their basic human and civil rights, whether they re- main in their national home or are seeking refuge outside their state borders. Among these are refugees and their compatriots who are internally displaced, women who do not have the right to pass on their nationality to their children, and the “bidoon,” literally, those without citizenship anywhere. These “citizens of somewhere” still have a state to call home, yet their rights—to a nationality, to an identity, to a physical place to belong —are compromised.

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New Realities, New Futures: Integration and Other Durable Solutions for Refugees 

February 2018: Refugees and migrants arrive in new destinations and encounter new realities; during their journey and displacement, they aspire to create a safe and promising future for themselves and their families. This starts with finding sustainable ways of living. The two main options include integration into a migration site (“host community”) or return to (and re-integration in) their countries of origin. However, before we ask what the international protection regime proffers as solutions to the integration or re-integration challenges faced by refugees, commonly referred to as “durable solutions,” we must first ask another question: where do refugees live during their flight?

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The Story of the World's Refugees

December 2017: Refugees are by no means a new phenomenon of the human experience. What distinguishes the contemporary debate around refugees is the political climate in which it is occurring-- in migrants' countries of origin, along their journeys, or in their destinations. So intensely charged is today's discourse on refugees and migrants that there are increasing calls for review and adaptation of the basic global, regional, and national legislative frameworks and policy instruments that have been governing refugees and migrants since the end of World War II. 

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