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 2014



International Criminal Law 

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 2014



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

Ratified 2015



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].

Ratified 2014



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

Ratified 2014



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

Ratified 2014



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

Ratified 2014



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 2014

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 2014

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 2014

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 2014


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 2014

Link to Protocol.


Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts, 8 June 1977 (entered into force 7 December 1978) 1125 U.N.T.S. 609 [Protocol II].

Ratified 2015
Link to Protocol


International Labor Law

ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration (2005).

Link to Framework


  Regional and Bilateral Agreements:

Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area defines the PA jurisdiction (1994).

Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip defines the PA jurisdiction (1995).

The League of Arab States 
Eg-Charter of the League

  National Legislation:

Palestinian Nationals 

Council of Ministers' Decision n°244/2005 on "VIP" Passports spells out identity and travel documents for Palestinian residing in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank
Link to Decision 

Council of Ministers' Decision n°23/2006 amending Decision n°244/2005 on Passports

Articles 11 and 20 of the Basic Law of 2003 outlaws the restriction of freedom of movement of Palestinian within the Palestinian territories

Entry and Exit 

Presidential Decree No 16 of 2006 outlines the regulations and public administration of  borders and crossing points 

Note: that The Palestinian authority does not have control over the territories' external borders and cannot hand out visas. The government of Israel retains authority over entry and stay visa issuance, and the movement of residents and non-residents between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. 

  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 Palestine:  

UNFPA Migration Indicator 

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

 Cohen, Nir, Daniel Czamanski, and Amir Hefetz. “Internal Migration of Ethno-National Minorities: The Case of Arabs in Israel.” International Migration 53.6 (2015): 74-88. Link to Article 

Keyword: internal, migration, ethnno-nationa, minorities, Arabs, Israel 

This paper examines the patterns of internal migration by analyzing the propensity to migrate as well as migrants' individual and social characteristics. The authors provide a review on recent geographic literature on internal migration among ethnic and racial minutes; contextualize the group studies providing background information on the politics, socio economic and demographic conditions of Arabs in Israel;  discuss attributes that are potential hindering factors to Arab mobility in Israel; and analyst 1995 national census data.

Elias, Nelly, and Adriana Kemp. "The New Second Generation: Non-Jewish Olim. Black Jews and Children of Migrant Workers in Israel." Israel Studies 1 (2010): 73-94. Link to Article 

Keyword: second generation, non-Jewish, black jews, children, migrant workers, Israel 

This article provides an findings on second generation of immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, Ethiopia, and children of migrant workers, and it introduces new variables and theoretical angels that have recently emerged within the Israeli context of migration, such as transnationalism and inequalities based on race, nationality, religion and citizenship. The authors argue that by introducing these frameworks, the Israeliresearch agenda on immigrants' second generation should expand beyond replication of the questions applied toward the massive immigration waves of the 1950s. 

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. 

Kemp, Adriana and Nelly Kfir. “Mobilizing Migrant Workers’ Rights in ‘Non-Immigration’ Countries: The Politics of Resonance and Migrants’ Rights Activism in Israel and Singapore.” Law and Society Review 50.1 (2016): 82-116. (Summary adapted from resource) Link to Article

Keyword: migrant workers, rights, non-immigration, immigration, resonance, migrants rights, activism, Israel, Singapore 

This article asks: how are the rights of migrant workers mobilized in non-immigration regimes? The author draws on human rights NGOs in Israel and Singapore to study migrants' rights mobilization by expanding cross national analysis beyond the US and west Europe diverting the focus from legal institutions to the places where rights are produced. The study finds that difference in the political regime influence the channels for mobilizing claims but not the cultural politics of resonance that NGOs use when dealing with the tensions between restrictive ethnic policies and the expansion of labor migration. 

Minghuan, Li. “Making A Living At The Interface of Legality And Illegality: Chinese Migrant Workers in Israel.” International Migration 2 (2012): 81-99. Link to Article

Keyword: Chinese, migrants, Israel, livelihood, illegality, illegal, legal, status, employment

This paper explores the initiation of the migration of Chinese workers to Israel and its social consequences. The author places this discussion within the context of legal status of the migrants. Research suggests that various factors interact and result in a permissive situation allowing the combination of the illegal but licit to press in transnational labor migration. This study attempts to, more importantly, voice the opinion of local people. 

Paz, Alejandro. “Speaking Like A Citizen: Biopolitics And Public Opinion in Recognizing Non-Citizen Children in Israel.” Language And Communication 48 (2016): 18-27. (Summary adapted from resource) Link to Article 

Keyword: citizen, bio politics, public opinion, non-citizen, children, Israel, voice, labor migrants, Israel 

This paper examines the public sphere processes through which non-citizen children of labor migrants came to be recognized as Israeli citizens. In 2000 and in response to a public campaign, government resolutions providing Israeli citizenship for young non-citizen. The author draws attention to the mass mediated process from which public opinion emerges to set the boundary between citizen and non-citizen by examining the pragmatic of voicing non-citizen children in public discourse and how legal documentation became the semiotic technology through which public opinion was rationalized bureaucratically. 

Riina Isotalo. “Transnational Family Dynamics, Second Generation and the Ties that Flex: Palestinian Migrants between the United States and the West Bank.” Hawwa 6.1 (2008): 102-123. (Summary adapted from resource) Link to Article

Keyword: family, second generation, Palestinian, migrants, US, West Bank, Palestine

This article studies reverse migrants, or return migrants. The author argues tat transnational family ties are a resource for Palestinian migrants of second and third generation; they remain meaningful even when young transmigrant have a conscious oppositional stand in relation to gender roles and family ideology that these ties imply. 

Shoshani, Anat, Nakash, Ora, Zubida, Hani and Harper Robin. “School Engagement, Acculturation, and Mental Health Among Migrant Adolescents in Israel.” School Psychology Quarterly 31.2 (2016): 181-197. Link to Article

Keyword: school, education, egganment, acculturation, mental health, migrant, adolescents, Israel

This study explores the role of school engagement and the medication effect of acculturation in predicting 1.5 and second generation migrant adolescents' mental health and risk behaviors. The study is based on 448 7th-10th grade Israeli students. The study found that higher levels of mental health symptoms and risk behaviors among 1.5 and second generation migrant adolescents compared with native born adolescents. Older participants engaged in more risk behavior and females had elevated mental health symptoms.  

Victoria Mason. “Children of the “Idea of Palestine”: Negotiating Identity, Belonging and Home in the Palestinian Diaspora.” Journal of Intercultural Studies 28.3 (2007): 271-285. Link to Article

Keyword: Palestine, identity, belonging, home, diaspora, Kuwaiti-Palestinians

This paper examines identity and belonging within Palestinian diaspora. it argues that Palestinian identity if framed not by what generation they belong with respect to migration, but how many generations they have been in exile. The article examines shifts in negotiations of concepts, identity, belonging and home for successive generations of diaspora Palestinians. A case study of a community of resettled Palestinians from Kuwait in Australia is employed to explore of these notions of identity.

Willen, Sarah S. "Toward a Critical Phenomenology of 'Illegality': State Power, Criminalization, and Abjectivity among Undocumented Migrant Workers in Tel Aviv, Israel." International Migration 45.3 (2007): 8-38. Link to Article

Keyword: state power, nation-state, criminalization, undocumented, migrant workers, Tel Aviv, Israel, irregular, irregularity, Israel

This article applies 'critical phenomenological' approach to the study of undocumented migrants of Western African origin and Filipino migrants in Tel Aviv, Israel. It addresses the transformation of their status from being treated as excluded 'others' to being targeted by government sponsored campaigns and deemed criminals. As such, the author highlights the profound implication this transformation has not only on the judicial and sociopolitical dimensions of what it means to be 'illegal' but also its impact on migrants' modes of being-in-the-world. 









Al Husseini, Jalal. “UNRWA and the Refugees: A Difficult but Lasting Marraige.” Journal of Palestine Studies 40.1 (2010): 6-27. Link to Article 

Keyword: UNRWA, refugees, protection, rights

This article traces the history of UNRWA and its transformation from service and relief provider to advocating for the refugees on the international stage; and from a disciplinary regime to emphasis on community participation and embracing a development agenda, on an administrative level. The article argues that UNRWA's presence is likely to endure and that its financial and political constrains are likely to thwart its new agenda. 

Bastaki, Jinan. “Who Represents Palestinian Refugees? The Sidelining of the Core of the Palestine Question.” Perceptions 20.1 (2015): 77-92. Link to Article 

Keyword:Palestinian, refugees, Palestinian question 

This article discusses the issue of Palestinian return within a political context. 

Feldman, Ilana. “The Humanitarian Condition: Palestinian Refugees And The Politics of Living.” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, And Development 3.2 (2012): 155-172. Link to Article 

Keyword: Palestinian, refugees, politics, living, humanitarian, Jordan, Jaraesh 

This research is part of a larger projects that examines the implications of sixty years of humanitarian assistance on the Palestinian community and political life with a focus on UNRWA. The articular draws particular attention to Jerash refugee camp in Jordan to analyze what happens when institutions such as UNRWA shifts from humanitarian response to a condition of life.  

Gerver, Mollie . “Testing Repatriation Contracts for Unconscionability: The Case of Refugees in Israel.” International Journal of Refugees Law 26.2 (2014): 198-222. Link to Article 

Keyword: repatriation, refugees, Israel

This article assesses repatriation of Palestinian refugees within framework of  contract law testing priceless. The author argues that Parfit's Principle of Consent and Rights Principle may address concerns with unconscionability of two policies of repatriation of refugees and failed asylum seekers in Israel back to countries in Africa between 2009 and 2013. 

Ghebrezghiabher, Habtom M and Pnina Motzafi-Haller. “Eritrean Women Asylum Seekers in Israel: From a Politics of Rescue to Feminist Accountability.” Journal of Refugee Studies 28.4 (2015): 570-594. Link to Article

Keyword: Eritrean, women, female, asylum seekers, Israel 

This article provides an account of the experience of Eritrean women asylum seekers in Israel from the moment of their escape from Eritrea, their journey, and entry and live in Israel examining these experiences through a feminist analytical framework that documents their agency within a changing historical and political circumstances and forces. The author find that gender is largely ignored by the few scholars who attempted to document the Eritrean asylum seekers experience in Israel.

Johnson, Penny. “Tales of Strength and Danger: Sahar And the Tactics of Everyday Life in Amari Refugee Camp, Palestine.” Signs 32.3 (2007): 597-620. Link to Article 

Keyword: Sahar, Amari, refugee camps, Palestine

This article focuses on a story of a Palestinian refugee documenting her story of strength as a life tactic. The author draws on Sahar, a Palestinian refugee, and sorties of other Palestinians are collectively produced by a community that is trying to with the moral and political collapse authority around them. The author concludes with exploring the interplay of collective narratives to that of Saher. 

Nakash, Ora, et al. "Exposure to Traumatic Experiences among Asylum Seekers from Eritrea and Sudan during Migration to Israel." Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 4 (2015): 1280. Link to Article

Keyword: Trauma, experience, destination, country, migration, Israel, Sudan, Eritrea

This report investigates the prevalence of exposure to traumatic experiences during migration among Eritreans and Sudanese who sought health services in the Physicians for Human Rights Open Clinic in Israel. The research finds that percentages of Eritreans and Sudanese men and women who reported witnessing violence and/or being a victim of violence during migration varied by gender and country of origin. It found that 41.3% Eritrean men and 29.3% Eritrean women have witnessed violence, as compared to 16.8% Sudanese men and 22.2% Sudanese women. In regards to being a victim of violence, 56% Eritrean men and 34.9% Eritrean women were victims of violence, meanwhile 51.9% of Sudanese men and 33.3% of Sudanese women have been in similar situations.  

Yaron, Hadas, Hashimshony-Yaffe, Nurit and John Campbell. “’Infiltrators’ or Refugees? An Analysis of Israel’s Policy Towards African Asylum-Seekers.” International Migration 51.4 (2013): 144-158. Link to Article 

Keyword: refugees, Israel, African, asylum seekers 

This article adopts a genealogical approach in examining Israeli immigration policy by focusing on the situation confronting African asylum seeker who have been forced back to Egypt and have not had their asylum claims properly assessed. The authors argue that the treatment of African asylum seekers as 'infiltrators' is due to an insistence on maintaining immigration as a sovereign issue formally isolated from other policy domains. This approach, the authors further argue, is a violation of the Refugee Convention and a direct contribution to policies which are ineffective and unduly harsh. 





Shiblak, Abbas. "The Lost Tribes of Arabia." Forced Migration Review 32 (2009): 37-38. Link to Webpage

Keyword: Sahrawi, Palestinians, overview, numbers, history, Bidoon, Kurds, 

  Precise numbers of stateless persons in the Arab region is unknown,  although it is widely recognized that it is one of the highest in the world. This article gives a    broad summary of the stateless communities in the Middle East region: the Palestinians, the Bidoon of Arabia, the Kurds of Syria and the Sahrawi in Algeria.