World Refugee Day: Refugees in Middle East Lack Support

The Red Cross and Red Crescent are calling for more support for refugees in the MENA region.

  • By webmaster | June 20, 2020,12:54 pm
World Refugee Day: Refugees in Middle East Lack Support

More assistance is needed for vulnerable refugees in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to a statement by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Marking World Refugee Day, on June 20, the aid group is calling for increased support for migrants, refugees, and internally displaced people who face multiple threats.

Refugees across the world already faced hunger, violence, and exploitation, but the COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the fate of millions of refugees. The MENA region’s conflict zones in Yemen, Libya, and Syria have resulted in increasingly widespread displacement as citizens try to escape war and starvation.

Refugees, migrants, and IDPs

Besides refugees, who are defined as having fled their country to escape persecution or war, there are Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) who are refugees in their home country, and migrants who flee extreme economic deprivation in search of a better life.

The division between the three definitions comes with some ambiguity as war, economic crises, and oppression often go hand-in-hand. Countries that are wary of taking in refugees have often portrayed these vulnerable people as fortune-seekers in search of better economic prospects.

Legal rights

Seeing refugees as motivated by economic reasons does not discount the fact that they have legal rights enshrined in our global consensus on human rights and humanitarian law. All human beings have the right to claim asylum in another country as part of Article 33 of the Geneva Convention on Refugees.

Refugees are also repeatedly denied the right to not experience inhuman and degrading treatment as described in Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. And any human being officially has the right to leave any country, as stated in Article 13.2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Support for refugees is becoming more important than ever as the coronavirus pandemic presents another grave threat. The IFRC is now warning of the major impacts COVID-19 is having on already distraught refugees.

Francesco Rocca, president of the IFRC, stated that “COVID-19 is exacerbating the suffering of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Many refugees were already living below the poverty line and struggling to make ends meet. Now they have lost the little income they earn, forcing them to cut down on basic resources including food and medicine.”

More help is needed, with catastrophe taking place in Yemen and Libya while many other countries in the region face economic problems that could lead to the continued daily growth of thousands of new refugees that add to a refugee population of 70.8 million people, according to the UNHCR.

Related Articles

Turkish Mercenaries
Hired Guns for the Highest Bidder: Turkey’s Mercenary Force in Libya

Bankrolled by Ankara on one side and Moscow on the other, foreign mercenaries joining the fray in Libya continue to shape the political future of the war-torn country.

Mediterranean Claims 20 More Migrant Lives Off Tunisian Coast
Mediterranean Claims 20 More Migrant Lives Off Tunisian Coast

The tragedy may have been much worse, if it were not for Tunisian authorities who thwarted dozens of migrants from attempting to cross the Mediterranean last week and seized over $200,000 cash in from suspected migrant smugglers.

International Migration Film Festival
Turkey Hosts First International Migration Film Festival

Hosted by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the inaugural International Migration Film Festival was an opportunity to shine a light on the plight of refugees and the role of film in telling migrant stories. 

Egypt Claims Right to Intervene in Libya
Egypt Claims Right to Intervene in Libya

The GNA’s eastern advances could prompt Turkish-Egyptian confrontation