The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation consisting of seven states that has grown into the most important economic center in the Middle East. The UAE is heavily dependent on oil and was dependent on the fishing and pearl industries prior to 1950. The UAE is very diverse and has become a trading and tourism hub for the region and heavily controls its media content — which includes foreign publications — before distribution. Here are ten facts about United Arab Emirates refugees.
Ten Facts About United Arab Emirates Refugees
- The UAE agreed in September 2016 to take in 15,000 Syrian refugees over a five-year period.
- The UAE is not a signatory of the 1951 Refugee Convention and legally is not obligated to allow refugees to stay in the federation.
- The UAE allowed 123,000 Syrians to relocate to the federation since the start of the conflict in 2011, but these have been mostly families and professionals on work visas.
- The UAE is the largest donor to humanitarian and development aid in the world on a per capita basis. The UAE has donated $750 million since 2012.
- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) does not count refugees in the Gulf States due to these states not signing the Refugee Convention and therefore any refugee relocations are not handled by UNHCR.
- Keeping track of refugees in the Gulf States is difficult without data and they are referred to as Arab brothers and sisters in distress.
- United Arab Emirates refugees are given a permanent residence and freedom of movement to maintain their dignity. These refugees are also given access to work, medical care and education at no cost.
- In March 2017, Amnesty International noted that the UAE in addition to the other Gulf States had offered zero resettlement places to refugees seeking asylum in that federation.
- The UAE funds a number of humanitarian projects, such as Al Mreijeb Fhoud Refugee Camp in Jordan. This camp includes a field hospital with surgery, cardiology and pediatrics units that have treated about 500,000 refugees.
- UAE refugees fleeing conflict often do not want to be recognized or referred to as refugees in the Gulf States and tend to prefer to go to Europe to seek safety.
There continues to be an open conflict with UAE refugees and how the Gulf States will continue to handle these efforts without the aid of the U.N. However, the UAE maintains that it is offering the best aid to the millions of refugees that seek asylum in the federation.
– Rochelle R. Dean