The Saudi Arabia Approach to Refugee Issues in the Absence of Its Accession to “The 1951 Refugee Convention”: A Case Study of Syrian Crisis

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Abstract The objective of this thesis is to investigate the Saudi Arabian approach to refugee issues in absence of its accession to the 1951 Refugee Convention, using the Syrian refugee crisis as a case study. The study follows the interpretative approach by textually and narratively analysing a collection of secondary data from official Saudi documents and websites, The UN and its agencies, and NGOs. The analysis employs the four elements that affects refugee policies proposed by Jacobsen (1996) as a conceptual framework. From the discussion, it emerges that despite its non-accession to the 1951 Convention, Saudi Arabia has both historically and in respect of the Syrian crisis provided significant support to those seeking refuge, though without classing them as refugees—something that is the source of some misunderstanding and confusion. Further, despite providing significant assistance, the discussion does highlight some important limitations in the Saudi approach. Saudi Arabia ought to pursue and implement a more definitive refugee policy.