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«Berlin, September 2010 Foto auf dem Cover: Internally displaced persons in a tent camp in Girdassen, Dahuk gov­ ernorate in Iraq. © IOM 2007 (Photo: ...»

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Because there were also many rebels among the many Burundian refugees in Tanzania, Burundi initially froze diplomatic relations from 2000 to 2002 and eventually even had troops march into western Tanzania, where most of the refugees were staying. There are also cases again and again in which countries of origin complain about discrimination against their migrants in countries of reception, for example, South-east Asian countries about human rights violations against their citizens in the Gulf states. Furthermore, refu­ gees and migrants can be exploited for foreign policy or foreign trade goals by both the country of origin and destination. This is seen again in the example of the Iraqi refugees in Syria, who represent a foreign policy bargaining chip for both countries. While Syria demands financial aid from the country of origin Iraq, as well as the USA, Iraq uses the presence of the refugees in Syria as a tool of threat. Essentially, an acceptance of asy­ lum-seekers and refugees and their recognition as politically persecuted strains the rela­ tionship between the countries of origin and reception.

Second, potential countries of reception of mass migrations may see themselves forced to intervene in the internal interests of the countries of origin in order to prevent unwanted immigration. In addition, a diaspora can attempt to promote support in the country of re­ ception for ‘their’ side in an internal political conflict in the country of origin.34 Here, too, the example of a possible militarisation or recruitment of rebels in refugee camps should be mentioned, such as with the Tuareg from Mali in Libya.

A significant risk to the country of reception can also arise if refugees or migrants turn against their country of reception, because it had previously supported their fight against the government of their homeland financially or organisationally, but then changed its po­ sition as part of a reorientation of foreign policy. Myron Weiner has described this case with the words, ‘Guns can be pointed in both directions’. Examples of this have been pro­ vided again and again in past decades by Palestinian refugees in the Arab states; the ac­ tivities of Afghani mujaheddin in Pakistan or Algerian fundamentalists in France in the 1990s could serve as further examples.

Occasionally, there are also tensions between returnees and the local population, particu­ larly for access to resources. Unequal land distribution or polarising external aid meas­ Cf. Myron Weiner and Michael Teitelbaum, Political Demography, Demographic Engineering, New York 2001, p. 146.

Cf. Gil Loescher, Beyond Charity, International Cooperation and the Global Refugee Crisis, Oxford 1993;

Steffen Angenendt, Deutsche Migrationspolitik im neuen Europa, Opladen 1997.

Cf. Robin Cohen, Diasporas and the Nation-State, in: Nana K. Podu and David T. Graham (eds.), Redefining Security, New York 1998.

ures can exacerbate such conflicts. In many cases, the return strains the already stressed labour market situation and holds the potential for significant social conflict. One particularly prominent example of a mass return migration of migrant labourers occurred at the end of 2002 in Burkina Faso, which found itself confronted with the return of ap­ proximately 360,000 Burkinabè in the wake of a violent conflict in Cote d’Ivoire.

Third, unsolved migration-caused conflicts, above all long-lasting refugee situations, can represent a significant risk for regional stability. National conflict dynamics can extend to neighbouring countries or the entire region through refugee movements in terms of a spill-over effect. In the Great Lakes region of East Africa, the decades-long, unsolved refugee problems and the large number of refugees who have spent all or part of their lives in refugee camps have contributed to the escalation of domestic clashes and ulti­ mately to the genocide of the mid-1990s. Similar security risks were and still are found in the long refugee crises in Central America and especially the unsolved Palestinian refu­ gee problems.

With regard to migration movements within or between developing countries, the risks connected to a possible militarisation of refugee camps must particularly be pointed out here.35 Rebel movements often operate out of large refugee camps, which can offer a starting point for the planning of attacks or offensives when they are in border regions.

Refugee camps can also be misused for the planning of terrorist attacks. In addition, be­ cause of the precarious situation of the refugees, there are conflicts both within the camps and between the refugees and the population of the country of reception (crime, prostitution, illegal trade, etc.). There are numerous examples of this, such as foundation of the Sahrawi Polisario resistance movement in the Tindouf refugee camp in Algeria, which ultimately also attempted to fight for the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco using military means. In a similar context is also the extremist course of action by the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) and later the LURD, which initiated attacks against the RUF in Liberia in the 1990s from Guinea and Sierra Leone, which in turn resulted in devastating attacks against those refugee camps.36 Similar constellations were also observed in Asia, for example, the armed resis­ tance of Burmese dissidents in Thailand. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees also considers resistance movements which operate from refugee camps to be a significant threat to peace and security.





But unresolved migration problems can also affect regional stability and cooperation be­ low the level of violent conflict, because deadlocks in such an important political field can by all means complicate cooperation in other political areas.

35 Cf. Gil Loescher and James Milner, Protracted Refugee Situations: Domestic and international security impli­ cations. New York: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2005 (Adelphi Paper 375).

36 Cf. Handy, op.cit. (n. 23), p. 6.

–  –  –

The preceding analysis suggests the conclusion that the debate over development policy must address not only the opportunities, but also urgently the risks of migration. In view of the constant increase in global migrations, the growing hope of many poorer countries of benefiting from a temporary or permanent emigration of their citizens and the hope of at least some countries which donate development aid of using migration as a development policy impulse – possibly even as a substitute for development aid – a critical discussion involving the development policy opportunities and risks of migration movements is necessary.

A realistic evaluation of the risks of migration movements demands significantly more theory and empirical knowledge than has been available to date. Nevertheless, some theses on the connection between migration, conflict and development can be formulated with the current state of knowledge.

1. In future, migrations between developing nations will increase significantly. In recent dec­ ades, these countries have been ever more strongly involved in global migration. Even if the percentage of migrants between developing countries in global migration remains the same, the population growth of these countries (by 2050, 97 % of the global population growth will be in developing countries) alone would cause the number of migrants to in­ crease.

2. This migration offers a wide variety of development opportunities for the countries of ori­ gin, transit and reception. Migration can promote development (e.g. through filling the need for labour, remittances, brain gain, etc.) and relieve the countries of origin (e.g.

through the emigration of manpower which cannot be integrated into the labour market).

Migration can also function as a balancing factor for economic, demographic, social and political inequalities and a lack of development. In some cases, even ‘triple win’ situations can result, in which all participants – countries of origin, countries of reception, migrants – benefit from migration.

3. At the same time, however, migrations between developing countries also hold significant risks for national, regional and human security.

- National security can be affected when a country of reception loses control of its ex­ ternal borders as a result of uncontrolled mass immigration, when immigration is con­ nected with a strengthening of organised crime and when extremist or terrorist net­ works or those oriented towards a regime change arise through immigration.

- A threat to regional security is to be expected, among other things, when long-lasting, unresolved (‘protracted’) refugee situations in the region exist and when opposition forces use refugee camps as areas of retreat and recruitment for militias.

- Human security for refugees and migrants can be threatened in a wide variety of ways, beginning with a lack of rights due to an insufficient or missing right of resi­ dence to discrimination and marginalisation in work, residence and education to the consequences of xenophobia and racism and acts of violence due to ethnic, religious or cultural persecution.

4. Many of the least developed countries will have difficulties dealing with increasing migra­ tion. Above all, there will be a lack of administrative capacity and financial means to ac­ cept and supply a larger number of refugees. But the immigration of migrants and a pos­ sibly exacerbated competition for scarce resources can also result in internal tensions up to and including violent conflicts.

5. However, migration-caused security risks are never inevitable, but can be influenced by general political and economic conditions. Migration research shows that there is no theoretically or empirically substantiable reception limit and no quantitatively measurable ‘limit of capacity’. Whether countries of reception, transit or origin benefit from migration or suffer under its consequences depends crucially on the form of these general condi­ tions. However, if there is a lack of political effort or ability to overcome the consequences of migration, migrations can become a security policy risk for the countries involved.

–  –  –

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Iraqi refugee crisis: an overview

3. Regional security risks

4. Migration related security risks in Jordan and Syria Jordan Syria

5. The human security of the Iraqi refugees

6. Conclusion

1. Introduction The American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the subsequent civil warfare in the country created one of the largest refugee-crisis of recent times. Around 4 million Iraqis fled their homes to escape violence; of these, around 2 million currently reside abroad, according to estimates. Most Iraqi refugees have found a relatively, temporary safe haven in Syria and Jordan, a smaller number can be found in Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey. UNHCR resettlement programs and illegal migration have also brought a few thousand Iraqi refugees to Europe, the US and Latin America. According to the latest UNHCR figures, 33 000 Iraqis have been resettled to third countries from Syria in total and in 2009, around 3000 Iraqis were resettled from Jordan. Between 2007 and 2009, Germany received around 1,100 Iraqi refugees from Syria. UNHCR Jordan only started submitting resettlement cases to Germany in 2009, to date 637 cases have been submitted and 320 Iraqis have departed to Germany.37 In one sense, the Iraqi situation presents a classic refugee crisis: a sudden mass movement of people who flee a sudden and catastrophic decline in their home country’s security. How­ ever, in many other ways, the situation has characteristics that set it apart from the kind of war-related refugee crises that have more or less regularly occurred in Africa and the Bal­ kans in the past twenty years. The most notable of these differences is that it is an urban crisis: most of the refugees have fled from and to urban areas. The Iraqi refugees have not been housed in camps, but have sought private accommodation in Damascus and Amman.

This implies an unfamiliar situation for UNHCR, which has much more experience dealing with refugees that are more easily approachable in camps.

Although many of the urban areas in which the Iraqis have settled are officially referred to as ‘camps’, and have a special administrative status, due to their origin as Palestinian refugee camps, in reality they are today permanent suburbs of major cities. (See for example the ‘Mukhaim Yarmouk’ [Yarmouk Camp], which started as a Palestinian camp and is today a largely Palestinian suburb of Damascus). I.e. these areas consist of proper, if generally lower quality housing, rather than tents, and public services are available. Three camps in the real sense of the word exist; these are located near the Iraq/Syria border in the north east of the country and host around 2300 Palestinians that fled Iraq after 2003.38 As this implies, many (but by no means all) of the refugees are at least modestly wealthy and well educated, indeed, because of the relative absence of UN-led efforts, only those Iraqis who, at least initially, had a modest amount of disposable wealth, were able to flee abroad. In Jordan, which for various reasons hosts the wealthiest Iraqi community, the UN estimates that around 35% of all Iraqi refugees hold university degrees.39 This means that the needs of the Iraqi refugee population, the impact on the host countries and their social systems as well as the security-related risks that arise from their migration are different than those that UNHCR, other humanitarian and development agencies and the host countries were pre­ pared for.40 This study will provide a brief overview of the migration-related security risks as they present themselves to the Iraqi refugees themselves and to the two states with the largest Iraqi refu­ Communication with UNHCR officers in Syria and Jordan in October 2009.

The special case of the Palestinian refugees from Iraq and the situation in the camps goes beyond the scope of this study, however can be elaborated on request.

Crisp J, Janz J, Riera J, et al.: Surviving in the city A review of UNHCR's operations for Iraqi refu­ gees in urban areas of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Geneva, UNHCR Policy Development and Evalua­ tion Service, 2009 Reuters, 19 June 2007, Iraqi refugees face poverty trap.

gee communities: Syria and Jordan. Despite their proximity, these two countries present re­ markably different political environments and their governments have thus approached the Iraqi refugee influx quite differently. By providing a brief comparison of the two environments, various security-related questions that can arise during a refugee crisis, and how states might answer them, are raised.

The first part of the study presents an overview of the key facts relating to the Iraqi refugee crisis. The second part characterizes the regional security concerns that Syria and Jordan share, in relation to the Iraqi migrants. Thirdly, the specific migration-related security risks that present themselves to the two receiving states and their answers to them are presented.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the human security of the Iraqi refugees is discussed and the risks and opportunities that migration has opened up for them, are presented.

2. The Iraqi refugee crisis: an overview The Iraqi refugee crisis, which kicked off fully in 2004, came in response to sectarian vio­ lence and organized crime, which targeted different Iraqis in different ways, depending on their wealth, religion and politics. This means that the migratory pattern of the crisis was un­ even, as different groups fled their country at different times, in response to the particular political and security developments that affected people of their social identity.

Initially, after the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, only a small number of Iraqis fled the country, most of them wealthy members of the former regime or persons with significant ties to the Iraqi government. Such individuals found refuge in Syria or other Arab states and did not present a refugee problem as such. However, as the recent tension between Syria and Iraq over the extradition of former Saddam supporters have shown, this group of refu­ gees presents a significant security risk to both host state (Syria) and state of origin (Iraq).



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