Middle East

In the aftermath of World War II, AFSC gained experience resettling refugees and displaced people and was asked by the United Nations to organize relief efforts for Palestinian Arab refugees in Gaza. This work continued from 1949 until the United Nations Relief Works Agency began operations in 1950. From our initial engagement with refugees in Gaza, AFSC has been committed to peacebuilding as well as relief efforts there. AFSC’s approach is twofold, working to empower the people directly affected by the conflict and advocating for policy change.

Civic space during the pandemic

The condition of civic space and freedom in the region remain challenging. Under the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the region sees further crackdown on civic space, human rights defenders, journalists, and other activists. The most reported violations in the region during the pandemic were censorship, harassment, detention of journalists, detention of human rights defenders, and attacks on journalists. 

Source: https://findings2020.monitor.civicus.org/middle-east-north-africa.html. For more information, read CIVICUS Monitor’s comprehensive report.

Learn more about AFSC's programs in the Middle East:


One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions on civil space are increasing. Recognizing the need to protect public health, our report looks at nine kinds of restrictions that could limit civil space for the long term and how civil society can respond.