Policy Portal

BCARS encourages you to review the following insightful policy documents from a diverse range of expert institutions working on the Syrian refugee crisis.

Documenting the Migration Crisis in the Mediterranean: Spaces of Transit, Migration Management and Migrant Agency

This article sets out the main findings of the research project Documenting the Humanitarian Migration Crisis in the Mediterranean, which maps migration trajectories and transit points across Europe in order to develop a humanitarian response to the Mediterranean migration ‘crisis’. On their long journeys, people seeking refuge in Europe pass through various places of transit, both informal spaces such as railways stations, parks and makeshift camps, and institutionalised spaces such as reception centres, detention centres and hotspots. The focus on transit points helps to understand migrants as subjects rather than objects and journeys as fractured and complex movements rather than linear routes from A to B. In addition, it sheds light on the effects of migration management policies on people on the move and puts forward a set of recommendations to EU policy-makers.

Dr Leonie Ansems de Vries is Lecturer in International Relations at King’s College London. Prof. Elspeth Guild is Senior Associate Research Fellow at CEPS, Jean Monnet Professor ad personam of European immigration law at Radboud University Nijmegen and Queen Mary University of London. Dr Sergio Carrera is Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) research unit at CEPS and Associate Professor of the Faculty of Law at the University of Maastricht, and Honorary Professor at Queen Mary University of London.

Internal Displacement in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Impact, Response and Options

From the Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Programme Workshop Summary :


Key points that emerged from the discussion are:

• The response of the central government in Baghdad, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil and the international community to Iraq’s displacement crisis remains inadequate. There is a need for a national plan to respond to the IDP crisis that will tackle largescale national policies such as education. But political disagreement between Baghdad and Erbil is hindering the development of solutions at this level.

• Return should be seen as one of the options for IDPs, but not as the only solution: While the KRG deserves great credit for its acceptance of such large numbers of IDPs, the authorities continue to operate on the assumption that IDPs will return ‘home’ once conflict is over. Such perceptions undermine displaced peoples’ right to choose between return and settlement. Those displaced by conflict seek to settle where they can find sustainable livelihoods, peaceful living conditions and access to services. Experience from other displacement crises indicates that many do not return to their former home.

• There is a critical need to plan ahead for future displacement associated with the continuing campaign against ISIS. The current campaign in Fallujah and the anticipated campaign in Mosul – Iraq’s second largest city and home to some 600,000 people – will inevitably generate further waves of IDPs. Given the proximity of Mosul to the KRI, it is highly likely that large numbers will flee there. The workshop found no evidence of planning or provision for this on the part of the KRI.

• The response must recognize the chronic nature of the displacement, and extend beyond emergency relief. In every year since 2003 Iraq has been among the 10 countries worldwide with the highest count of IDPs. Despite this, insufficient attention and support are 1 When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. 3 Displacement in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Impact, Response and Options being provided to programming that acknowledges the long-term implications of displacement in the KRI. Greater support for livelihoods programming and initiatives that seek to reduce social tensions is required.

• Support should be allocated on the basis of needs, rather than ethnicity or category (IDP, refugee, host): Such an approach is more likely to reduce social tensions and increase resilience. While not presented as an ideal solution, some participants suggested that the KRI should look into the potential to agree quotas for support for vulnerable host communities, as in Jordan.

• The response would benefit from being benchmarked against international standards, as identified in the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Framework for National Responsibility, and the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.


From the Atlantic Council & U.S. Institute for Peace:


The forced displacement of unprecedented numbers of people (many of them unregistered, hard to track, and thus hard to help) within and beyond national borders has become an enduring yet fluid phenomenon across the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade. The increased risks being taken by refugees and asylum-seekers, including those who are crossing the Mediterranean in very dangerous conditions, and the sharp increased flow through the Balkans and Europe illustrate their level of desperation. They are also a reflection of the failure of both national leaders and the international community to address the violent conflicts as well as the elements of fragility that lead to them in a sustainable way...

Supporting Syria and the Region Conference: London 2016

This policy document, argues for a "new approach on how we respond to this protracted crisis," based on findings from the “Supporting Syria and the Region 2016" Conference in London. These findings build on the 2014 Berlin Conference and the three Kuwait Pledging Conferences. It was hosted by the leaders of Germany, Kuwait, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United Nations and and included "representatives from over 60 countries, international organisations, business, civil society, Syrians and people affected by the conflict."

Jordan Response Plan: For the Syria Crisis 2016-2018

Jordan's Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation in cooperation with the UNHCR presents "a three-year programme of high priority interventions to enable the Kingdom of Jordan to respond to the effects of the Syria crisis without jeopardizing its development trajectory."

Chatham House: Syria and Its Neighbours

Chatham House presents a series of expert comments and research papers on the Syrian refugee crisis in neighboring states.

Evaluating UNICEF's Emergency Education Response Programme

The RAND Corporation provides an evaluation and policy recommendations for addressing the education challenge of the Syrian refugee crisis.

The United States and the Syrian Refugee Crisis: A Plan of Action

Michael Ignatieff's team of experts make a convincing argument that it is in the U.S. national interest to support Syrian refugees, and provides a plan of action for doing so.

Chatham House, Refugees in Syria’s Neighbours: Exploring Policy Responses

Chatham House's summary report provides an outstanding overview of the challenges for regional hosts supporting Syrian refugees.

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