The American University in Cairo Center for Migration and Refugee Studies Database
Legal Instruments
Statistics and Figures

  Legal Instruments   

This section provides a list of international conventions and regional/bilateral agreements to which each country is a signatory, as well as national legislation that deals with movement, migration, asylum and human rights. Each listing includes a PDF/ link to a publically accessible document of the convention/law mentioned.
  International Conventions:

General International Law 

Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 24 April 1963 (entered into force 19 March 1967) 596 U.N.T.S 261. Ratified 1970



International Criminal Law

Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, 2 December 1949 (entered into force 25 July 1951) 96 U.N.T.S. 271. Ratified 1955 PDF

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 10 December 1984 (entered into force 26 June 1987) 1465 U.N.T.S. 85 [CAT]. Ratified 2011


Protocol amending the Slavery Convention, 25 September 1926 (entered into force 7 December 1953) 182 U.N.T.S. 51. Ratified 1955 PDF

Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, 15 November 2000 (entered into force 15 November 2000) 2241 U.N.T.S. 507 [Palermo Protocol]. Ratified 2009



Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, 15 November 2000 (entered into force 15 December 2000) 2237 U.N.T.S 319 [Palermo Protocol] Ratified 2009



United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, 15 November 2000 (entered into force 29 September 2003) 2225 U.N.T.S 209. Ratified 2008


Slavery Convention, 25 September 1926 (entered into force 7 July 1955), 60 L.N.T.S. 253. Ratified 1955




International Human Rights Law

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 18 December 1979, 1249 U.N.T.S 513 [CEDAW].

Signed 1980, Ratified 1981

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 7 March 1966, 660 U.N.T.S 195 [CERD]. Signed 1969, Ratified 1970 


Convention on the Rights of the Child, 20 November 1989, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3[CRC]. Ratified 1994


International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, 999 U.N.T.S. 171 [ICCPR].

Signed 1969, Ratified 1971



International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 16 December 1966 (entered into force 3 Jan 1976) 993 U.N.T.S. 3 [ICESCR].

Signed 1969, Ratified 1971



Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/217 A (III), 10 December 1948, Art 14. [UDHR].



International Humanitarian Law/Law of War

Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, 12 August 1949 (entered into force 21 October 1950) 75 U.N.T.S. 31[First Geneva Convention]. Ratified 1956

Link to Conv.

Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, 12 August 1949 (entered into force 21 October 1950) 75 U.N.T.S. 85 [Second Geneva Convention].

Ratified 1956

Link to Conv.

Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 12 August 1949 (entered into force 21 October 1950) 75 U.N.T.S. 135 [Third Geneva Convention].

Ratified 1956

Link to Conv.

Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, 12 August 1949 (entered into force 21 October 1950) 75 U.N.T.S. 287 [Fourth Geneva Convention].

Ratified 1956

Link to Conv.

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, 8 June 1977 (entered into force Dec. 7, 1978.) 1125 U.N.T.S. 3 [Protocol I]. Ratified 2010

Link to Protocol.


International Labor Law

ILO Convention C 111 Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (1958). Ratified 1959

Link to Conv.


ILO Convention C 29 Forced or Compulsory Labour Convention (1932). Ratified 1962 Link to Conv.

ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration (2005).

Link to Framework


  Regional and Bilateral Agreements:

Regional Agreements 

The Statute of the Organization for the Development of Women in the OIC Member States PDF

Arab Labor Convention No. 1 on Level of Expertise (1966)
Link to Convention_Arabic


Irregular Migration&Readmission Agreements
None Currently Listed 


Labor agreements 

Agreement between Egypt and Iraq in housing and development of workers(2002). PDF_ARabic 

Economic Cooperation Agreement between Bulgaria and Iraq (2015). link to agreement_Bg

Agreement organizing and regulating the Employment of Egyptians in Iraq concluded between the Governments of Egypt and Iraq (1988)
Agreement regulating the employment of Egyptian Manpower in the Republic of Iraq between the Government of the Republic of Iraq and the Arab Republic of Egypt (1988)


Social Security Agreements

Protocol on the Social Protection of Students between France and Iraq (1972) Link to Agreement_France

Arab Labor Convention No. 16 On Labor Social Services (1983) 
Link to Convention_Arabic


Other Relevant Agreements

Cooperation Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Iraq and the International Organization for Migration (2011)

Cooperation Agreement between France and Iraq addressing the establishment of Franco-Iraqi Institute for studies and student exchange (1969)
Link to Agreement_French

Technical Scientific and Cultural Cooperation Agreement between Iraq and France (2016)
Link to Agreement_French

Technical Scientific and Cultural Cooperation Agreement between Iraq and France (2009)
Link to Agreement_French

Convention on legal and judicial co-operation between the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of Iraq, the Republic of Yemen and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan signed  (1989)

  National Legislation:

Iraqi Nationals 

 Law No. 61 regulates the employment of Iraqis abroad 
(PDF Unavailable. can be found in Alwaqai Aliraqiya of 1981)

Resolution No. 393 of the Revolutionary Command Council which stipulates that residence obtained by Iraqis residing abroad will not be effective unless he/she obtains an agreement on employment in conformity with the Law of Regulations on Iraqis' Employment abroad
(PDF Unavailable. can be found in Alwaqai Aliraqiya of 1989, No. 3098)

Regulations No. 1 of 2015 on the Council of Haji and Umra

Nationality Laws

Law No. 1 of 1957 on personal status
Link to Law_Ar

Law No. 148 of 1971 on recording births and deaths 

Law No. 65 of of 1972 on personal status

Decision No. 32 of 1999 on passports

Law No. 26 of 2006 on Iraqi nationality 

Law No. 79 of 2012 on documents that comprises of immigrants and emigrants 

Law No. 98 of 2012 on coercing an Iraq for being nationalist

Decision  No. 2 of 2011 on Passport services
Link to Law_Ar


Migration and Labor 

Law No. 52 of 1970 on verification of documentations for Iraqis and foreigners alike
Link to Law_Ar

 Residence Law of Foreigners No. 118 of 1978 manages and directs the entry, residence and departure of any foreigner in the country and stipulates prerequisites for granting residence to a foreign national, including the presence of a sponsor

Residence Law of Foreigners No. 118 of 1978  (amended)
Link to law_Ar

Instructions No. 4 of 1989 amending instructions No. 18 of 1987 provides that the technical foreign workers must present a written promise to train one or more Iraqi workers working in the same job.
(PDF Unavailable. can be found in Alwaqai Aliraqiya of 1989, vol. 32, No. 8)

Instruction No. 5 of 1985 Regulates the functions of employment offices in respect of jobs offered by foreign companies in Iraq and the procedure to be followed to fill such vacancies, including the duties of the company
(PDF Unavailable. can be found in Alwaqai Aliraqiya of 1985, No. 3075)

Decision No. 204 of 2002 requiring anyone who enters Iraq (Iraqi and foreigners) to acquire medical check up in Iraq

Decision No 97 of 2002 on residency fees

Decision No. 202 of 2001 concerning the entitlement of Palestinians in Iraq to all rights Iraqis are entitled to with the exception of citizenship rights

 Law No. 79 of 2012 on documentations that includes emigrants and migrants



  Statistics and Figures:   

This section provides links to regularly updated sites that provide statistics on migrants and refugees in different countries around the world.

Below are links to various databases that provide statistics and figures relevant to the movement of people in and out of Iraq:  

The World Bank 
The World Bank-Iraq

UNFPA Migration Indicator 

UNHCR Statistics Database

The Displacement Tracking Matrix of the International Organization for Migration 

Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre


This section includes a comprehensive list of sources and links to journal articles, books, webpages, etc. for each country in the database that address migration and refugee topics within the context of education, health, legal, psychosocial, political, among others. Each listed source includes a brief description of the material and a link.


Link to Researchers

Baali, Fuad. “Social Factors in Iraqi Rural-Urban Migration.” American Journal of Economics and Sociology 25.4 (1966): 359-364. Link to Article

Keyword: social, factors, Iraqi, rural-urban, migration 

This paper analysis the rural-urban migration of Iraqis to cities within Iraq, especially Baghdad, and closely examines the conditions of the migrant. The paper argues that this movement is not directly linked to industrialization or urbanization, rather the system of landownership and political dissension are direct factors of this movement. 

Geddes, Andrew. "Governing Migration from a Distance: Interactions Between Climate, Migration and Security in the South Mediterranean." European Security 24.3 (2015): 473-490. Link to Article

keyword: Climate change, environment, security, South Mediterranean 

The Article asses the link between the environment, and the security and migration nexus by assessing the EU's external governance policies in the “South Mediterranean Partner Countries” (SMPCs): Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, and Tunisia. The author argues that, given the data, migration triggered by climate changes interacts with social, economic and political drivers of migration. He further finds that implications of such movements exposes migrants to further risks and more displacement.

Hoffmann, Sophia. “The Humanitarian Regime of Sovereignty: INGOs and Iraqi Migration to Syria.” Refuge 28.1 (2011): 59-70. Link to Article

Keyword: humanitarian, sovereignty, INGOs, Iraq, Syria

This article studies international humanitarian involvement of NGOs in Syrian that are focused on the Iraqi migrant population questioning how these organizations were positioned towards modern state sovereignty, and sovereignty's particular construction of territory, population and government. The article argues that most INGOs operate firmly within the social relations stipulated by modern sovereignty using ethnographic data to demonstrate how INGO activities treated Iraqis according to sovereign exclusions and ideas about citizenship. 

Iaria, Vanessa. “Attempting Return: Iraqis’ Remigration from Iraq.” Refuge 28.1 (2011): 109-121. (Summary adapted from resource) Link to Article  

Keyword: return, re-migration, Iraq 

This article explores the Iraqi returnees' experiences based on accounts of their return and re-migration to Syrian and Jordan. The study finds that Iraqi refugees' decision to return is driven less by improvements in Iraq than by their desire to rebuild their lives back home and overcome the difficult legal and socio economic conditions in neighboring countries. 

King, Diane E. “Asylum Seekers and Patron Seekers: Interpreting Iraqi Kurdish Migration.” Human Organization 64.4 (2005): 316-327. Link to Article

Keyword: asylum seekers, patron seekers, Iraqi, kurds, Kurdish, Kurdistan, migration

This article examines Iraqi Kurdish out-migration to the West between 1991-2003 arguing that migrants perceived the west as potential patrons and were motivated to migrate due to their conceptualization of patronage and clientage roles. 

Meir-Glitzenstein, Esther. “Our Dowry: Identity and Memory among Iraqi Immigrants in Israel.” Middle Eastern Studies 38.2. (1966): 359-364. Link to Article

Keyword: Iraqi, Jewish, Israel, immigrants, Babylonian, Jewry, Heritage, center, Mizrahim

This article focuses on the different sector of Mizrahim who became part of the Israeli middle class. The author lays out the identity traits of the Mizrahim population by looking at their socioeconomic, political and cultural traits and their place in Israeli society. As such, the article focuses on the contexts in which the founders of the Babylonian Jewry Heritage center acted. Also, the article explores the connection between the identity traits of the founders of the center and the Iraqi community in Israeli and Israeli society at large as a memorial community. 

Pascucci, Elisa. “Migration, Identity, and Social Mobility among Iraqis in Egypt.” Refuge 28.1 (2011): 49-58. (Summary adapted from resource) Link to Article

Keyword: migration, identity, social, mobility, Iraqis, Egypt 

Based on a small-scale qualitative research project with Iraqis living in 6th of October City in Egypt, this paper explores the role shifting social identities play in Iraqis’ experience of migration and forced displacement. In doing so, it focuses on three major themes emerging from the ethnographic material: the relation between social change in the homeland and other dimensions of Iraqis’ belonging; the role education and work play in the strategies refugees employ to resist dispossession, as well as in the practices through which other categories of Iraqi migrants rewrite their social identities; and Iraqis’ relation with Egyptian society.

Romano, David. “Whose House is this Anyway? IDP and Refugee Return in Post-Saddam Iraq.” Journal of Refugee Studies 18.4 (2005): 430-453. (Summary adapted from resource) Link to Article

Keyword: IDP, refugees, post-Saddam, Iraq 

This paper examines the causes of return problems in Iraq and how various authorities in post-Ba'athist Iraq are addressing the return issue. Particularly around the contested city of Kirkuk, problems relating to the return issue risks igniting ethnic conflict and possibly even civil war in Iraq as a whole. The article examines the return issue for the period from march 2003 to June 2004, focusing especially on norther Iraq and Kurkuk. 

Romano, David. “IDP and Refugee Return to Northern Iraq: Sustainable Returns or Demographic Bombs?” Refuge 24.1 (2007): 135-144. Link to Article   

Keyword: IDP, Iraq, refugee, return, Northern, demographic, sustainable

This article discusses the issue of returning to Iraq after prolonged displacement from original towns and homes. In addition to general problems that obstructs a safe and secure return for Iraqi displaced population, including sectarian competition, lack of security, insufficient financial resources, among others, the emerging political contests over the future of the the new Iraq has further complicated return. 




Arar, Rawan Mazen. “How Political Migrants’ Networks Differ from Those of Economic Migrants: ‘Strategic Anonymity’ among Iraqi Refugees in Jordan.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 42.3 (2016): 519-535. Link to Article

Keyword: political, migrants, networks, economic, migrants, Jordan, Iraqi 

Based on 30 interviews with Iraqi refugees in Jordan between 2009-2010 who fled in the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war, this article argues that the utility of social networks is influenced by the reason for displacement and regional geopolitical frameworks. The author observes that, like economic migrants, political migrants believe that they would benefit from social network, however, some political migrants must exercise caution in the face of potentially harmful new relationships in receiving countries.  

Giacaman, Rita. "Syrian and Iraqi Refugees: A Palestinian Perspective.” American Journal of Public Health 105.12 (2015): 2406-2407. Link to Article

Keyword: Syrian, Iraqi, refugees, Palestinian, perspective 

This short piece discusses gaps and challenges to the plague of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, akin to the Palestinian refugee experience. The article offers recommendations to address some of these issues. 

Millsap, Chase. “America’s Ronin Refugees: Forgotten Allies of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Journal of International Affairs. 69.2 (2016): 151-167. Link to Article

Keyword: Iraq, Afghanistan, Ronin, refugees, America

This piece argues that the displacement of US-trained Iraqi and Afghani security forces poses a threat to wartime allies and US national interests. The article criticizes the international refugee resettlement paradigm and the US's system to protect these high risks individuals, and suggests that, based on historical precedence, a unique military and diplomatic approach to protect American allies is warranted. 

Neidhardt, Giorgio Heinrich. “Engendering Refugees’ Livelihood Strategies: The Case of the Iraqi Diaspora in Damascus.” Diversities 15.1 (2013). (Summary adapted from resource) Link to Article

Keyword:Iraqi, diaspora, Damascus, livelihood, transnational

The study suggests that the lack of resources in Syria have forced Iraqis to find resources elsewhere, outside Syria and the institution of humanitarian aid. It examines Iraqi's livelihood strategies in Syria immediately before the present uprising and repression through a gender dimension and the implications of transnational practices for Iraq families and their networks. 

Newland, Kathleen . “The Iraqi Refugee Crisis: The Need for Action.” Migration Policy Institute (2008): 1-28. Link to Article

Keyword: Iraq, refugee, crisis

This report discusses the precarious situation for civilians in Iraq and the challenges that remain unaddressed. 

Slewa-Younan, Shameran, et al. “Trauma in Resettled Iraqi Refugees: Differences Between Those Seeking Psychological Treatment And Those Not Seeking Psychological Treatment.” Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma 23.9 (2014): 917-929. Link to Article

Keyword: trauma, resettled, Iraqi refugees, psychological, treatment

This study examines the psychological and physiological measures of trauma exposure in two groups of Iraq refugees resettled in Australia, those seeking psychological treatment and those who are not. It finds that refugees seeking treatment have higher levels of PTSD and depression levels than those not seeking treatment, however, there is no difference in the number of trauma even endorsed. Both groups have significantly higher resting Heart Rate than healthy controls. 


Hamid, Abdullah, & Mohammed H. Khamo. " Statelessness Under International Terrorism." Academic Journal of Nawroz University [Online], 6.2 (2017): 110-126. Link to Article

Keyword: nationality, terrorist, Iraq, Syria, birth, newborns, refugee camps

This article address two main points: States reviewing and preparing draft laws in order to take away nationality from terrorists and the statelessness that comes from babies born under the rule of terrorist organizations. 


UN High Commissioner for Refugees. "Global Action Plan to End Statelessness." UN High Commissioner for Refugees (2014). Link to Article

Keyword: born, gender, protection, documentation 

                        “To End Statelessness within 10 years, the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness: 2014-2024 establishes a guiding framework of 10 Actions to be undertaken by States with the support of UNHCR and other stakeholders to: resolve existing major situations of statelessness, prevent new cases of statelessness from emerging and better identity and protect stateless populations.”