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Migration and refugees in the Middle East

Introduction

The Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) has for decades been characterized by significant and complex migration patterns, some of which involve a European perspective. Over the last years the migratory movements have increased and become more complex. The so-called Arab Spring from 2011 and onwards led to more differentiated patterns of the population movements in the MENA-region and in particular the crisis in Syria and Libya caused a significant forced migration to neighbouring countries and towards Europe, which seems to continue and increase, not least as a result of the emergence on the political and military scene of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS, or Daesh), in particular in Iraq and Syria.

However, beyond the recent dramatic developments concerning migration, which have cached the attention of the international media and more than ever have become high politics, significant patterns of more “traditional” population movements can be identified in the MENA-region. These movements still play an important role, influencing economic, political and social relations between the states in the region, but also contributing to the international repercussions of Middle Eastern migration. On both sides of the Mediterranean, and particularly from the European side, an increasing securitization of migration has become a reality, following the 2015 terror attacks in, among others, Egypt, Lebanon, and France.

It is the idea of this workshop to analyze and discuss recent migration tendencies in the MENA-region and their regional and international perspectives. The discussions will trace the roots of migratory movements in the Middle East and how they have influenced the political and social conditions of the region. Taking its point of departure in the recent turmoil in the MENA-region and how the ongoing crisis has added to the significant new migration tendencies, it is the ambition of the workshop to contribute to our understanding of this important and increasingly complex Mediterranean reality.

 Please find the programme here.

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