By Matt Norris
The delegates of the Arab League met Thursday to discuss the pressing refugee crisis across the region. Millions of refugees are displaced from impoverished, war torn countries, such as Syria, Yemen, and Sudan. Many nations, especially developed ones, are reluctant to take action due to belief that the refugee crisis is not their problem. The delegates met in hopes of coming to a resolution as to how they would manage these waves of refugees, where they would direct them, how to improve conditions refugees encounter, and how to achieve global participation in accepting refugees.
The delegates of the Republic of Yemen and the Republic of Iraq emphasized the stress Yemen has endured by accepting refugees while coping with a devastating civil war. Yemen cannot handle this crisis by itself, so the two delegates called for the necessity of aid from the United States of America and the European Union. Delegates such as those of the Tunisian Republic and Syria called for wealthy countries nearby such as the Italian Republic to accept more refugees than they are currently. They argued these developed nations are far more capable of housing a mass influx, and that the little area in the region available to refugees is rapidly disappearing.
Delegates such as those of Libya, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were some of the many who brought up the horrid conditions and struggles refugees face both in the countries they attempt to flee and to enter. Xenophobia is a pressing issue; refugees face difficulty finding jobs and adequate resources such as food and water. The delegate of Oman brought up the danger of rape and sexual violence that vulnerable refugees face. The delegate of Oman additionally brought to light the exhausting routes that refugees often take to safety. From cramped boats in the unpredictable Mediterranean to long and exhausting treks through burning desert, there are virtually no safe options for refugees to escape their unstable situations. The UAE delegate suggested an increase in funding to provide education and awareness of the situation through advertising. They also suggested establishing quotas for intake of refugees per country. This received the support of many other delegates in the League, except notably Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, who stated that one cannot force a sovereign nation to resettle refugees. Other nation delegates argued in favor building up military and border strength to make the refugee crisis more stable and predictable.
Delegates grouped together during unmoderated caucuses to discuss potential solutions. The delegates from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, UAE and Oman were able to agree on a resolution that included an increase in Red Cross training, teaching vulnerable refugees self defense, and helping refugees integrate into society. Another solution, introduced by Jordan, Morocco, Bahrain, Syria, and Mauritania proposed increased funding for safety and medical aid, and highlighted the need for a nondiscrimination policy and a decrease in police brutality.