Jordan sounds alarm as support for 3.7 million refugees dwindle

Zaatari refugee camp
A general view shows the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees, northeast of Amman. (File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Jordan sounded the alarm on the dwindling international support for refugees as the country continues to host a staggering 3.7 million displaced individuals from 49 different countries. اضافة اعلان

As the Kingdom commemorated World Refugee Day, which lands on June 20 of each, concerns mounting over the strain on the country's resources, Jordan is reaching its capacity limit, further exacerbating an already challenging situation, Al Mamlaka TV reported.

The numbers of registered refugees
As of June 4, there are 740,762 registered refugees in Jordan from various nationalities, excluding Palestinian refugees who fall under the responsibility of UNRWA.

Additionally, an estimated 2.4 million Palestinian refugees are present in Jordan, with the Palestinian Affairs Department overseeing 13 camps, although UNRWA officially recognizes only ten of them.

The Syrian crisis, which began in 2011, has led to a substantial influx of refugees into Jordan, with over 1.3 million Syrians seeking refuge in the country.

Of these, 660,000 are registered with the UNHCR. Furthermore, Jordan hosts 61,000 registered Iraqi refugees, along with smaller populations from Yemen (12,771), Sudan (5,171), and Somalia (587).

Refugees from 48 different nations
Mashal Al-Fayez, the spokesperson for UNHCR in Jordan, disclosed that refugees in the country originate from 48 different nations. When combining data from UNHCR and UNRWA, it becomes apparent that refugees from 49 countries constitute a staggering quarter of Jordan's population, as reported in the UNHCR's Global Trends 2023 report released this month.

This situation is not unique to Jordan. Turkey currently hosts around 3.6 million refugees, making it the largest host country globally.

 Iran follows closely with 3.4 million, while Colombia, Germany, and Pakistan host 2.5 million, 2.1 million, and 1.7 million refugees, respectively, according to the report.

Jordan’s FM shares deep concerns over dwindling supports
During the recent Brussels conference, Ayman Safadi, Jordan's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs, expressed deep concern over the declining international support for Syrian refugees. He urgently called for increased financial assistance to sustain sufficient and sustainable levels of support, emphasizing the need for collaboration with host countries to prioritize spending effectively.

Safadi underscored Jordan's commitment to fulfilling its obligations towards refugees, providing them with decent living conditions. Notably, the country has facilitated education for approximately 155,000 Syrian students through a double-shift system in schools. Moreover, medical services on par with Jordanian citizens are extended to refugees. To date, Jordan has issued over 370,000 work permits to Syrian refugees, facilitating their integration into the labor market.

Despite these efforts, UNHCR in Jordan faces a significant funding gap of $270.092 million for the fiscal year 2023, having secured only 31 percent of its financial requirements.

UNRWA in a chronic funding crisis
Meanwhile, UNRWA continues to grapple with a chronic funding crisis, warning of the dire humanitarian, political, and security consequences if adequate funds are not secured.

At the recent Brussels conference, donors pledged €5.6 billion in aid for Syrian refugees, signaling some progress.

However, the overwhelming majority of refugees worldwide, 76%, are located in low- and middle-income countries, with 70% residing in neighboring countries, according to the UNHCR's Trends Report.

Jordan has a history of receiving successive waves of asylum seekers, including Libyans in the 1920s, followed by Palestinians, Iraqis, and Syrians in different periods, alongside individuals from other nationalities. On the occasion of World Refugee Day, which lands each year on June 20, the Empowerment Society for Legal Aid and Human Rights has called on the Jordanian government to sign the 1951 Refugee Convention to enhance the protection and rights of refugees.

As Jordan confronts the strain on its resources and international support wanes, urgent action is required to address the needs of refugees in the country and ensure their basic rights are upheld.

Without sustained assistance and collaboration, the situation for refugees in Jordan and worldwide remains precarious, with far-reaching consequences for the global refugee crisis.

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