Refugee scientists and researchers are being ‘lost’

Many refugee scientists and researchers fleeing conflict in the Middle East and North Africa have been lost in the diaspora – neither continuing their research, nor being welcomed by the countries of forced exile, write Mohamed Elsonpaty, Tareq Hmaidi and Adel Fakhir for SciDev.Net.

"Some countries do not give the right of permanent residence to those competent researchers,” says Taher al-Bakka, a former minister of higher education and scientific research in Iraq. He says these are mainly Arab, Muslim-majority and Asian countries. "Then they [the researchers] turn to working as construction workers or dustmen, facing threats of being expelled at any moment, which forces them to live in apprehension and instability.”

Mohamed Hassan, interim executive director of the World Academy of Sciences, hopes that recommendations emerging from a meeting held in Italy in March and co-hosted by the World Academy of Sciences, Italy’s National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics, and the Euro-Mediterranean University of Slovenia to discuss the challenges facing refugee scientists will generate a new impetus for networking to create a support system for refugee researchers.
Full report on the SciDev.Net site