Syrian refugee labour and food insecurity in Middle Eastern agriculture during the early COVID-19 pandemic

Ann-Christin Zuntz*, Mackenzie Klema, Shaher Abdullateef, Stella Mazeri, Salim Faisal Alnabolsi, Abdulellah Alfadel, Joy Abi-habib, Maria Azar, Clara Calia, Joseph Burke, Liz Grant, Lisa Boden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Drawing on ethnographic data from the 2019 SyrianFoodFutures and 2020 From the FIELD projects, this article provides insights into the early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on refugee labour in agriculture in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria. In spring 2020, movement restrictions and supply chain disruptions caused displaced Syrian farmworkers to lose their jobs and experience increased food insecurity. We situate our findings in the context of host countries’ use of legal ambiguity for governing refugees, Middle Eastern agriculture’s reliance on migrant labour, and the region’s longstanding food insecurity. We conclude that formalising refugee labour is not enough to address exploitation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Labour Review
Early online date22 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Dec 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • refugee labour
  • Middle East
  • food insecurity
  • agriculture
  • legal ambiguity

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