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 1978



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 1959



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 2004


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

Ratified 1954

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].

Signed 2000, 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]

Signed 2000, Ratified 2009


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

Signed 2000, Ratified 2009


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

Ratified 1954



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 2003



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

Ratified 1969



Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, 18 December 1990 (1 July 2003) 2220 U.N.T.S. 3 [Migrant Workers Convention].

Ratified 2005



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

Signed 1990, Ratified, 1993



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

Ratified 1969



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 1969



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].

Signed 1949, Ratified 1953

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].

Signed 1949, Ratified 1953

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].

Signed 1949, Ratified 1953

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].
Signed 1949, Ratified 1953
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 1983

Link to Protocol.


International Labor Law 

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

Ratified 1961

Link to Conv.


ILO Convention C 29 Forced or Compulsory Labour Convention (1932).

Ratified 1940

 Link to Conv.


ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration (2005).

Link to Framework



  Regional and Bilateral Agreements:

Regional Agreements 

Arab Labor Convention No. 16 on Labor Social Services  (1983)


Protocol for the Treatment of Palestinians in Arab States, League of Arab State (1965). Link to protocol_Eg


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


Irregular Migration & Readmission Agreements

None Currently Listed


Labor Agreements 

Agreement between Qatar and Syria in the field of labor (2009)
Link to Agreement

Bilateral Agreement on Labor exchange between the Government of Syria and the Government of Tunisia (2004).
PDF_FrPDF_Ar pg 1364

Agreement to extend labor agreements between Syria and Egypt before joining the Arab League (1960).


Social Security Agreements 

Agreement between the Czech Republic and Syria on social security (2011).

Cooperation Memorandum between Yemen and Syria in the Field of Social Security (2009).

Cooperation Agreement between the Ministry of Labor and Migration of Egypt and the Ministry  of Social Affairs in Syria (1998).

  National Legislation:

Syrian Nationals

Legislative Decree 276 of 1969 Syrian Arab Republic and Executive Instructions on the conditions for acquisition of Syrian nationality 
Link to Decree

Circular No. 2 of 1982 contains legal provisions applicable to the entry and residence of Syrian and non-Syrian Arabs and aliens 

Legislative Decree 49 of 2011 on granting Syrian nationality to those registered in the Hasaka's records for foreigners  
Link to Decree

Law No. 19 of 1990 on tariffs, due and fees for Syrian nationals living abroad, except Lebanon
Link to Law

Legislative Decree 11 of 2014 on amending the fees for consular services 
Link to Decree

Law No. 1 of 2014 to determine the passport fees or travel card for nationals 
Link to Law

Legislative Decree No. 65 of 2013, Law on the recruitment and employment of female migrant workers
Link to Law

Legislative Decree No. 31 of 2008 to include amending exist fee
Link to Decree

Legislative Decree No. 38 of 2006 includes fees regarding private tourist vehicles registered outside Syria
Link to Decree


Migration and Labor 

Legislative Decree No. 29 of 1970 regulates the right of foreigners to enter, reside in and leave the territory of Syria, and is the main document regarding the issuance of passports, visas, and diplomatic travel status
Link to Decree

Law No. 2 of 2014 on the entry and exist and residence of foreigners in Syria
Link to Law

Law 41 of 1975 on exist fees
Link to Law

Law 9 of 2013 on crimes and punishment for irregular migration to Syria
Link to Law

Declaration 52 of 1958 regarding the exist of Syrian residents and nationals and their vehicles from Syria
Link to Declaration

Legislative Decree No. 61 of 2007 regarding employing non-Syrian au-pais
Link to Decree

Decision No. 576 of 1970 establishes the expatriate citizen certificate committee to review applications for expat citizen certificates and revoke applications 

Decision No. 1350 of 1984 provides free circulation for nationals of all Arab and Gulf countries


Rights and Entitlements of Foreign Nationals 

Law No. 36 of 2006 implementing the provisions of pensions, remunerations, insurance and compensation for the rank of officers and individuals issued by Legislative Decree No. 54 of 1962 on Palestinians considered to be Syrians who served in the Syrian Arab Army
Link to Law


 Smuggling and Human Trafficking

Decree No. 20 of 2013 on the Crime of Kidnapping and Due Penalties

Legislative Decree No. 3 of 2010 against the trafficking of persons
Link to Law


  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 Syria:  

The World Bank 

UNFPA Migration Indicator 

UNHCR Statistics Database

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

 Chalcraft, John. “Of Specters and Disciplined Commodities Syrian Migrant Workers in Lebanon.” Middle East Report 236 (2005): 28-33. Link to Article

Keyword: commodities, Syrian, migrants, workers, Lebanon

This brief piece provides an account for Syrian workers in Lebanon, their contributions to Lebanon, issues of exploitation, and those in the informal economy. 

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. “Post-Return Transnationalism and the Iraqi Displacement in Syria and Jordan.” International Migration 52.6 (2014): 43-56. Link to Article

Keyword: tarnsnationalism, Iraqi, Displacement, Syria, Jordan, post-return 

Based on field observations and interviews with Iraqi returnees, this article explores the link between return and transnationalism in the case of post-2003 Iraqi's displacement in Syria and Jordan. The author argues that that transnational mobility and livelihood constitute a precondition for refugees' return demonstrating that return is not a one-way physical movement that guarantees permanent integration, but involves complex process.



Beehner, Lionel. “Are Syria’s Do-It-Yourself Refugees Outliers or Examples of A New Norm?” Journal of International Affairs 68.2 (2015): 157-176.

Keyword: Za'atari refugee camp, construction, building, Jordan, Syrian refugees

Drawing on literature from social anthropology and political science, as well as qualitative research from Za'atari refugee camp, the author disputes a high modernist approach that James Scott predicated in 'Seeing like a State' to the social engineering of large displaced population. 

FreedmanJane, Zaynep Kivilcim, and Nurcan Ozgur Baklacioglu (Eds.). A Gendered Approach to The Syrian Refugee Crisis. Routledge Studies in Development, Mobilities, and Migration (2017). 

Keyword: Gender, Syrian crisis, women, men, conflict, migration, mobility, development, gender studies

This book provides a detailed assessment of women's experiences throughout their forced migration journey--beginning with fleeing the conflict from Syria, heading to Lebanon or Turkey, and continuing on to their destination in the EU. The themes the book addresses include, the changing nature of gender relations, gender representation of refugees, and the gendered implications of EU policies.

Fakih, Ali, May Ibrahim. “The Impact of Syrian Refugees on the Labor Market in Neighboring Countries: Empirical Evidence from Jordan.”Defense and Peace Economics 27.1 (2016): 64-86. Link to Article

Keyword: Syrian, refugees, labor, market, Jordan, impact, economic, development 

This paper analyzes the implications of the refugee crisis on Jordan's labor market since 2011 using the Vector Autoregression model. The goal of the paper is to examine a series of data on unemployment rate, employment rate, labor force participation, refugee economic activities. The result of the analysis show no correlation between the labor market and the refugee influx.

Fakih, Ali, May Ibrahim. “The Impact of Syrian Refugees on the Labor Market in Neighboring Countries: Empirical Evidence from Jordan.”Defense and Peace Economics 27.1 (2016): 64-86. Link to Article

Keyword: Syrian, refugees, labor, market, Jordan, impact, economic, development 

This paper analyzes the implications of the refugee crisis on Jordan's labor market since 2011 using the Vector Autoregression model to examine a series of data on unemployment rate, employment rate, labor force participation, refugee economic activities. The result of the analysis show no correlation between the labor market and the refugee influx.  

De Bel-Air, Francoise. "A note on Syrian Refugees in the Gulf: Attempting to Access Data and Policies." Gulf Reserach Center and European  University Institute 15 (2015). Link to Article

Keywords: Syria; Bahrain; Kuwait; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia

This article assess the GCC's claim that they have relaxed their entry and residency laws to accommodate Syrian nationals in their countries. using statistics in the countries, as well as declarations from official bodies released in the local press. The author finds that most Gulf states have passed various measures to facilitate the entry and stay of Syrians since 2011.

Dickinson, Elizabeth. “Shadow Aid to Syrian Refugees.” Middle East Report 272 (2014): 36-42. Link to Article

Keyword: aid, refugees, Syrians, homelessness, poverty, vulnerability 

This piece offers a critique of aid agencies and humanitarianism and the disparities of wealth by reviewing the life and hardship of a Syrian refugee named 'Ala.'

Jabbar, Sinaria Abdel, Haidar Ibrahim Zaza. “Impact of Conflict in Syria on Syrian Children at the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan.” Early Child Development Care 184. 9-10 (2014): 521-534. Link to Article

Keyword: Za'tari refugee camp, refugee children, children of war, Syrians 

In an attempt to assess the implications of war on children, this paper compares Syrian refugee children living in Za'atari, Ramtha and Amman. The study finds that children from Za'atari camp were more distressed than the others and they are the only group that had suicidal thoughts. 

 Jazairi, Rania Al. “Transitional Justice in Syria: The Role And Contribution Of Syrian Refugees And Displaced Persons.” Middle East Law and Governance (2015): 1-24. Link to Article

Keyword: transnational, justice, Syria, refugees, IDPs

Stressing the importance of transnational justice from the perspective of Syrian refugees, the author focuses on Syrians' role and contribution to transnational justice processes. The author includes Syrians' perspectives about accountability, reintegration, Syria's cultural identity, the roles of minorities and women, reconstruction and development priorities and demilitarization, demobilization and Reintegration issues.  

Monroe, Kristin V. “Labor and the Urban Landscape: Mobility, Risk, and Possibility among Syrian Delivery Workers in Beirut.” Anthropology of Work Review 35.2 (2014): 84-94. Link to Article

Keyword: labor, urban, landscape, mobility, risk, Syrian refugees, Lebanon, Beirut 

This article investigate the class and political relations of Syrian delivery workers on motorcycles who work in Beirut, Lebanon. The author argues that the lives of these workers are characterized by conditions of insecurity, including rushing around the city, physical risks, and also encounter other forms of precarity due to their positions in the city's migrant labor regime and Lebanon's political climate with respect to Syrian refugees. The author also considers the perspectives of workers of their jobs, the freedoms and opportunities that it attains. 

Navest, Aysha, Martijin de Koning, and Annelies Moors. “Chatting About Marriage With Female Migrants To Syria.” Anthropology Today 2 (2016): 22-26. Link to Article

Keyword: marriage, female, migrants, Syrian, women, radicalization, terrorism, Jihadi brides

This research focuses on how female migrants to Syria arrange their marriages. The authors find that women themselves desire to live under ISIS rule responsible for domestic life and attempt to normalize life under ISIS, rather than desiring to become female fighters.

Riach, George and Zoe James. “Strengthening the Rule of Law on the Margins: Experiences from Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan.”International Journal of Human Rights 20.4 (2016): 549-566. Link to Article

Keyword: law, Za'atari, refugee, camp, Jordan 

This article examines legal pluralism and legal empowerment within the context of Za;atari refugee camp in Jordan. In the absence of a formal legal process, the authors argue, that Syrian refugees found alternative avenues to pursue civil, religious and criminal claims

Tappis, Hannah, et al. “Domestic Violence Among Iraqi Refugees in Syria.” Health Care For Women International 33.3 (2012): 285-297. Link to Article

keyword: domestic violence, women, Iraqi, refugees, Syria

With the goal of examining domestic violence among Iraqi refugees in Syria and outlining the needs of victims, this paper investigates the prevalence of domestic violence among the population, the kind of violence and the determinants or factors that increase the likelihood of violence. The author concludes with a critique of the support services deeming them inadequate and small.




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. 


Howard, David M. "Analyzing the Causes of Statelessness in Syrian Refugee Children." Texas International Law Journal 52.2 (2017): 281-312. Link to Article

Keyword: citizenship, children, laws, Turkey, Europe, Canada

This article discusses the harsh reality that many Syrian children are stateless. It compares the citizenship laws in Europe, Turkey, and Canada to show the current difficulties faced by Syrian refugees. It also covers the UN and European States’ responses to statelessness and Syrian refugees. 

 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 abroad 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. 

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.”