Regional Refugee Protection: A Comparison of Europe and the Middle East
Csorba, Petra Fruzsina
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By displacing more than half of the country’s pre-war population, the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic has become the catalyst for one of the biggest humanitarian and refugee crises of our time. The flow of more than 5.6 million people forced to leave their homeland has directly affected two regions: Europe and the Middle East. In order to enrich and fill certain gaps in the literature, this thesis provides an analysis of the legal framework of refugee protection from a regional perspective. By focusing on the case of people fleeing the Syrian Arab Republic, it evaluates the respective legal frameworks of the two regions and critically examines the legal grounds for protection therein. Moreover, by undertaking country case studies from both regions, this thesis also highlights the intricacies and shortcomings of the respective regional frameworks as reflected in the contradictory policies and stances of Germany, Hungary, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia toward refugees. It argues that the refugee protection frameworks of Europe and the Middle East are the antithesis of each other. In Europe, we can observe a well-developed and deep-rooted regional cooperation, more or less harmonised norms and institutions whereas the Middle East is characterised by the lack of legal foundations and norms of refugee protection with weak institutions and strong state sovereignty. However, in light of the protection outcomes for refugees fleeing the Syrian Arab Republic, both regions seem to have failed in terms of efficient responsibility sharing and adequate response to the needs of refugees.