World Refugee Day Event in the MENA Region

20 Jun 2023 Lebanon 20 Jun - 20 Jun

World Refugee Day Event in the MENA Region

  • 20 Jun - 20 Jun
  • Lebanon

09:00 - 11:00 EEST

Padova Hotel, Beirut - Zoom Link:


In the recent years, Covid, climate disasters, on-going conflicts, economic collapse and political turmoil have been driving forced migration and displacement in the Middle East and North Africa. The region is host to an estimated 40 million migrants, 14 million internally displaced persons and around 2.4 million refugees. It is the most unequal region in the world, where income inequality is very high and extreme poverty has increased dramatically in the past decade. The economic fall-out from the covid pandemic has severely impoverished refugees who were already living in precarious situations before the pandemic. Compounded by the war in Ukraine, the MENA countries are facing a cost-of-living crisis, bringing households on the brink of poverty and hunger. As a result, more and more people are taking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea in an attempt to reach Europe. With governments’ inability to stabilize the economy, refugees have become the easy scapegoats for society’s problems, thereby fuelling racism and xenophobia.

Within the framework of the second phase of the PSI Project on Public Services Trade Union Actions on Refugee and Migrant Workers Issues in the MENA, PSI organizes this panel event on the occasion of 20th June 2023 World Refugee Day. The panel will share experiences of trade union actions in defending the human rights of refugees and their access to quality public services, while also discussing
current challenges and gaps on refugee protection. Focusing on the message of solidarity, hope and inclusion, the panel event will feature the unique role of public service workers on the frontlines in delivering public services that are crucial in keeping societies together, in a world faced with economic, political, social and climate crises.


  • Najwa Hanna, PSI Subregional Secretary for Arab Countries


  • Genevieve Gencianos, PSI Migration Programme Coordinator, Overview of PSI Policy on Migrants, Refugees and IDPs;

  • Nina Bergman, International Secretary, VÅRDFÖRBUNDET, Sweden: Reflection on the EU and Sweden migration Agreement from a trade union perspective

  • Yara Hassam, lawyer at the Beirut Bar association and a regional coordinator at the Cross Regional Center for Refugees and Migrants: Challenges faced by migrants and refugees in terms of access to public services,

  • Mustapha Said, Senior Specialist, Workers' Activities, ILO: The Arab trade union movement and its handling of the refugee and migrant workers issues in light of the expansion of government austerity policies and their economic and social consequences: challenges and priorities from the perspective of International Labor Standards.

  • A testimony from a refugee in the North of Lebanon (in video)

  • Nawfel Rhayem, Deputy General Secretary, Federation of Health Workers, Tunisia: Report back from the Third WHO Global Consultation on Promoting Health of Refugees and Migrants

  • Ziad EL Sayegh, Expert on Public Policies, Executive Director for the Civic Influence Hub (CIH): Asylum and Immigration Policies: Approaches in the Middle East and Lebanon

  • Ahmad Al Saadi, President of the Independent Union for workers in Municipalities – Jordan

  • Mohamed Djebbari, Member of the National Board ‐ SNAPAP - Algeria

  • Nisreen El Masri, Member of the Executive Board, Syndicate of Social Work Specialists

Open Discussion