U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 1998 - United Arab Emirates

    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has no formal procedures for determining refugee status. UNHCR was assisting 390 refugees in 1996 originating principally from Somalia, Uganda, and Iraq, and monitoring the situation of a small group of stateless persons from Zanzibar. The UAE also has a population of stateless Bidoon, Arabs who in many cases have been born in the UAE but are not considered to be citizens. In February, USCR wrote to the government of the UAE to express concern about an Iraqi who had been detained incommunicado for more than a year and who appeared to be at risk of deportation to Iraq. USCR sought assurances that he would not be forcibly returned to Iraq, and asked for information concerning his conditions of detention. The government did not reply. In September, the UAE passed a law to levy fines and prison sentences on undocumented aliens and their employers. Persons convicted of smuggling undocumented aliens into the country could face up to 15 years of imprisonment.

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