World Refugee Day

To mark World Refugee Day (WRD) and raise awareness about the status of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Arab region, Bayanat Box, in collaboration with the Issam Fares Institute (IFI) for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, will launch a visual and evidence-based campaign on this topic to be released close to the date of WRD on June 20th. The visual campaign will be available on the Bayanat Box social media pages as well as the IFI website and social media pages.   

The campaign consists of eight visual pieces covering a number of topics including (a) the size of the refugee challenge in the Arab world, (b) the number of Syrian refugees hosted by countries in the region, and (c) the realities of everyday lives of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey. The content is based on the latest available data and research from credible sources including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, other UN agencies, international NGO’s, and government sources.

In particular, the campaign addresses the magnitude of the refugee crisis in the Arab world on three levels. Globally, the campaign presents the surprising figures of Arab refugees on the international scale – more than half of global refugees are Arabs. Regionally, 3.4 million Syrian refugees are hosted by Lebanon (1.5 M), Jordan (1.3 M), Iraq (0.2 M), and Egypt (0.4M). Locally, 18 million internally displaced Arabs mostly from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Sudan have been forced to flee their homes to other parts of their country.

Figure 1 – More than half of the world’s refugees are from Arab countries


Figure 2 – How many Syrian refugees do Arab governments estimate they are hosting

Figure 3 – 18 million Arabs forced to flee to other parts of their country

The campaign also compares the everyday lives of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey. Data shows that an alarming number of refugees live below the poverty line in host countries: Jordan (86%), Turkey (80%), Lebanon (71%), and Iraq (37%). Moreover, there is an overwhelming trend of out-of-school refugee children in Lebanon (59%), Turkey (41%), and Iraq (39%). Jordan’s figure stands at 35% for refugee children aged between 15 and 17. Access to health is another challenge that refugees face. In Lebanon, 16% of those who needed primary health care in the first half of 2016 could not access it. In Iraq, 40% of those with chronic conditions are unable to receive the care needed. Furthermore, the data shatters perceived stereotypes about refugees’ housing situation as the overwhelming majority of refugees in Jordan (80%) and Turkey (90%) do not live in camps, while those in Lebanon report poor housing conditions (38%) and those in Iraq report a risk of eviction due to inability to afford rent (7%).

Figure 4 – 6 Facts about the lives of Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Figure 5 – How are Syrian refugees doing in Jordan?

Figure 6 – Syrian refugees in Iraq in 2016: Realities in numbers

Figure 7 – What is life like for the 2.8 million Syrian refugees in Turkey?

Finally, the inflow of refugees into the host countries has resulted in significant social and economic pressures on the citizens and governments of these countries. These pressures have been discussed extensively in the media locally, regionally, and globally. Future content from Bayanat Box and the Issam Fares Institute will delve deeper into available research in this area. This campaign does, however, include a brief animation that reveals that in certain cases, international aid to refugees in these host countries can alleviate some of this pressure. For instance, a study by the International Rescue Committee evaluated the impact of cash aid to a sample of 90,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon in winter 2014. It found that this aid benefited not only the refugees but also the Lebanese. In fact, the study concluded that every $1 of cash aid given to Syrian refugees generated $2.13 for the Lebanese economy.

For early access to this content and an opportunity to republish, please email To view the campaign, follow BayanatBox on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs  on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and their website.

More on Bayanat Box

Launched early this year, Bayanat Box is a digital platform that combines the power of data, design, and journalism in order to create fresh, evidence-based and visual digital content in Arabic and English, on the most pressing economic and social challenges in the Arab world. Bayanat Box uses infographics and animations to explain how these challenges affect people’s lives, how they are being addressed, and what new ideas exist locally and around the world to solve them.

You can visit the website of our NGO Huloul – which is incubating the Bayanat Box platform ( for more info. You can also view the content on Facebook (, and on twitter and instagram (@BayanatBox).

More on the Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut

The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut was inaugurated in 2006 to harness the policy-related research of AUB’s internationally respected faculty and other scholars, in order to contribute positively to Arab policy-making and international relations.

The Issam Fares Institute is a neutral, dynamic, civil, and open space that brings together people representing all viewpoints in society. It aims to: raise the quality of public policy-related debate and decision-making in the Arab World and abroad; enhance the Arab World’s input into international affairs; and, enrich the quality of interaction among scholars, officials and civil society actors in the Middle East and abroad.

You can visit the website of the institute ( or the social media pages on Facebook (, and on twitter and instagram (@ifi_aub).