high rates of lymphoma among the refugees, particularly the young and the elderly.14 The expense of cancer treatment puts it out of reach of all except the wealthiest Iraqis. As Fafo found, only 10% of children under six and 6% of persons over 65 have health insurance.
UNHCR reports that 15% of Iraqis who have registered with them since January 2007 have ‘Specific Needs’. 11.5% of these ‘Specific Needs’ are due to ‘important medical conditions’, totaling over 3,300 persons for this reporting period.
In conclusion, the mission has heard both from Iraqis and providers that the medical services are difficult and time consuming to access, inadequate for their needs, and unaffordable.
Lack of education for special needs students
In mid August 2007, the Jordanian government announced that access to public schools would be granted to all Iraqi children, regardless of their parents’ status. However, as of November 2007 only 21,000 children had registered for public and private schools according to government sources reported by Save the Children. It was suggested to the mission that the low attendance rate in the public schools is due to the fact that Iraqi families fear the threat of deportation if their illegal status in the country is exposed and/or use child labor to contribute to the income of the family.
The Fafo study shows that 78% of Iraqis of school age are enrolled in school, as compared to 93% of Jordanians of the same age group. Enrollment rates are particularly low among the poor and non-Moslem groups. The government decided to allow the inclusion of Iraqis in non-formal education programs during the course of our mission. This should allow additional Iraqi students to return to school.
Students with special needs are often difficult to enroll in schools for lack of specialized programming. Also, it is common for Iraqi students to have missed three to four years of school due to the war and instability in Iraq. These students are often resistant to and prevented from joining a class of much younger students.
UNHCR, in collaboration with UNICEF, hopes to register 50,000 children by 2008 and are working together to provide education services to Iraqi refugees in Jordan15.
Specific protection needs
The following paragraphs describe specific protection needs for different segments of the Iraqi refugee / asylum seeker population.
Unaccompanied and separated children, adolescents and children-at-risk
Unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) have been under-identified because of a lack of knowledge and attention paid to them. At the beginning of the mission, UNHCR had identified 55 unaccompanied children but by the end, UNHCR had identified 123 UASC and were beginning to standardize operating procedures for carrying out best interest determinations (BIDs), in addition to finding appropriate care arrangements for them. Due to a lack of
Ibid. UNHCR: UNHCR’s Iraq Operation : Protection and Assistance to the Displaced, September 2007
Report of the ICMC / USCCB Mission – Protection Needs in Jordan