Middle East

2014 UNHCR regional operations profile - Middle East

| Overview |

Working environment

The massive displacement of people from and inside the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) as a consequence of the unrelenting conflict in that country has dominated concerns regionally and internationally, threatening the social, political and economic balance of the neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees. Despite the lack of prospects for a short-term resolution of the situation, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon have demonstrated great generosity in welcoming the Syrian refugees and assisting them.

However, the ramifications of the Syria crisis are being felt even further away in a region where protection remains fragile at best. Indeed, the Syria situation has drawn attention away from other protracted or worsening situations, such as Yemen and Iraq. As such, in 2014 international support and burden-sharing will be essential not only to sustain assistance to those displaced by the Syria conflict but also to ensure protection and assistance for all people of concern in other States in the region.

| Response |

Strategies

  • The Syria displacement grew at an alarming rate in 2013, with close to 2 million refugees fleeing the country, chiefly to Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Within the country, there were more than 6.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, including at least 4.25 million internally displaced people (IDPs). UNHCR will focus on maintaining the protection space in host countries through increased burden-sharing, including resettlement and humanitarian admissions, and by working with development actors to offset the impact of the refugee influx on national infrastructure and host communities.

  • In responding to needs of Syrian refugees and IDPs alike, coordination will be central to addressing potential protection and assistance gaps.

  • In this context, the Gulf countries will play a central role, not only in their hospitality to Syrian refugees on their soil, but in terms of advocacy and resource mobilization efforts, in line with their growing engagement in international humanitarian endeavours. UNHCR will maintain its momentum in building partnerships with a range of actors, including the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the League of Arab States.

  • In the subregion as a whole, the Office will advocate for the principle of non-refoulement, accessible and favourable asylum space, and durable solutions. Particular attention will also be paid to internal displacement situations in Yemen and Iraq, where political and security developments could jeopardize favourable national policies on displaced populations. In Iraq in particular, a key priority will remain the return and reintegration of IDPs and refugees.

Challenges

At a time of significant political and social upheaval across the subregion, security concerns are likely to weigh ever more heavily on asylum policies and practices. Meanwhile, mixed migration flows and human smuggling will continue to blur the context in which UNHCR is operating.

In Syria, Iraq and Yemen, UNHCR faces even greater restrictions in accessing displaced populations due to insecurity and violence, which in turn will hinder durable solutions, including resettlement.

| Implementation |

Operations

UNHCR's operations in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen are covered in detail in separate chapters.

In addition to helping displaced Syrians, UNHCR assists several thousand refugees of other nationalities in the region. The majority are from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Turkey. The most vulnerable among them receive basic humanitarian assistance from UNHCR, which also conducts registration and refugee status determination (RSD) and seeks durable solutions, including resettlement in most of the countries.

As a result of heightened security measures and legislative action in Israel, which have restricted asylum space, the number of people entering the country irregularly has decreased significantly compared to previous years. UNHCR will continue to advocate for people of concern inside the country to have access to asylum procedures and basic services in close consultation with national counterparts and civil society.

UNHCR is strengthening its partnerships in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Building upon previous resource mobilization efforts, which resulted in unprecedented contributions for the Syria crisis and worldwide operations, UNHCR's offices in Abu Dhabi and Kuwait, and regional office in Saudi Arabia (which also covers all the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar) will work with national and regional organizations to increase public awareness of refugee-protection needs.

| Financial information |

UNHCR's financial requirements for the Middle East subregion have increased dramatically in recent years, from USD 574.5 million in 2010 to a revised 2013 budget of USD 1.44 billion, as a result of needs arising from the crisis in Syria. In 2014, the financial requirements for the subregion have decreased slightly to USD 1.37 billion, when compared with the 2013 revised budget, due to the reduction in some operations, such as in Yemen following the successful completion of the return and reintegration programme for IDPs in the South, and the significant investments already made to respond to the situation in Syria.

These financial requirements are based on the best estimates for 2014 using the information available as of mid-2013. In light of the evolving situation in Syria, any additional requirements as they relate to that emergency will be presented in the Regional Response Plan for Syrian refugees (RRP6) and the Syrian Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP), with the situation undergoing further review in the course of 2014.

UNHCR budgets for the Middle East (USD)
Operation 2013
Revised budget
(as of 30 June 2013)
2014 2015
Refugee
programme
PILLAR 1
Stateless
programme
PILLAR 2
Reintegration
projects
PILLAR 3
IDP
projects
PILLAR 4
Total
Total 1,448,694,024 1,074,526,576 3,732,621 39,598,855 255,897,381 1,373,755,433 1,339,949,133
Iraq 293,729,337 129,591,438 2,000,001 39,598,855 44,811,415 216,001,709 195,720,087
Israel 3,222,760 2,896,171 0 0 0 2,896,171 2,494,451
Jordan 367,567,319 430,351,224 0 0 0 430,351,224 427,841,224
Kuwait 0 5,000 0 0 0 5,000 5,000
Lebanon 362,024,061 370,282,030 639,282 0 0 370,921,312 369,501,879
Saudi Arabia Regional Office 4,453,371 3,205,486 390,000 0 0 3,595,486 3,858,188
Syria Regional Refugee Coordination Office 2,803,738 3,684,171 0 0 0 3,684,171 4,481,186
Syrian Arab Republic 316,996,216 64,334,792 578,338 0 192,951,405 257,864,535 245,367,453
United Arab Emirates 3,217,460 2,506,493 125,000 0 0 2,631,493 2,641,493
Yemen 72,865,369 37,266,642 0 0 18,134,561 55,401,204 59,538,167
Regional activities 21,814,394 30,403,128 0 0 0 30,403,128 28,500,004

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2105

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Statistical Snapshot*
Countries
[1]
Refugees
from [2]
Refugees
in [2]
IDPs
[3]
* As at mid-2013
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Bahrain 249 296 0
Iraq
More info 409,181
Refugee figures for Iraqis in Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic are Government estimates. UNHCR has registered and is assisting 67,300 Iraqis in both countries at mid-2013.
188,555 993,188
Israel 1,054 48,325 0
Jordan 1,588
More info 613,104
Refugee figure for Iraqis in Jordan is a Government estimate. UNHCR has registered and is assisting 24,900 Iraqis at mid-2013.
0
Kuwait 935 534 0
Lebanon 3,652 577,212 0
Oman 24 134 0
Qatar 15 113 0
Saudi Arabia 439 565 0
State of Palestine
More info 96,801
Refers to Palestinian refugees under the UNHCR mandate only.
0 0
Syrian Arab Republic 1,888,823
More info 149,709
Refugee figure for Iraqis in the Syrian Arab Republic is a Government estimate. UNHCR has registered and is assisting 42,400 Iraqis at mid-2013.
4,254,500
United Arab Emirates 74 642 0
Yemen 2,228 240,371 306,791