Exploring the Effects of Border and Immigration Policies on the Strategies of Refugees from Syria

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:45
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Lama KABBANJI, Institut de recherche pour le développement, France
According to the UNHCR, Syria is the first provider of asylum seekers in 2013 in 44 industrialized countries. 56351 applications were registered in 2013, most of them in Europe, and particularly in Sweden and Germany, followed by Bulgaria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Austria. These figures are very low when compared to Syrian refugees registered at the UNHCR in neighboring countries. In april 2014, the UNHCR stated that Lebanon became the country with the highest proportion of refugees compared to the national population in the world, with more than one million refugees from Syria living on its ground (a quarter of the population). Since the beginning of the war in Syria, Lebanese immigration and borders policies had constantly changed, in line with the increase and dynamics of refugee’s flows from Syria. The same applies with regards to policies (formal and informal) implemented in some transit countries such as Libya or in destination countries in Europe. These changing policies affected in many ways the living conditions and strategies developed by Syrians and Palestinian Syrians. This presentation aims at exploring these effects through an examination of:

-       Borders and immigration policies in different destination countries and their evolution since the start of the Syrian conflict

-       The effect of these policies on the strategies developed by refugees from Syria, in particular Palestinian-Syrians, particularly mobility strategies

This presentation is based on an on-going research project started in early 2014 in Lebanon. It is based on multi-sited participant observations and interviews conducted in different countries/localities among a small group of Syrians and particularly Palestinian Syrians who fled Syria starting from 2012, and were followed by the researcher since early 2014. This research is also based on the analysis of key policy documents and newspaper articles.