alternatives, some of the UASCs are living in basements and garages “like stray cats” with minimal supervision. There is a need for awareness-raising amongst service providers so that UASCs are identified in the course of their contact with the refugee community. Once UASCs are identified, they must be referred to UNHCR for assessment and a BID completed in order to find appropriate interim and durable solutions for these children. In cooperation with UNHCR, Questscope is currently the only agency providing specialized services for UASC. An assessment of the existing UASC caseload in December 2007 found 91 of the 123 UAS children living in distressing conditions. The Chaldean church is aware of 10 families who are caring for separated or unaccompanied children.
Adolescents in refugee situations are often an overlooked population, to the point that UNHCR has made this group one of their five global priorities.16 In fact, the protection mission found only two agencies focusing on the needs of adolescents. Adolescent are being pressured to leave school in order to work to help support their families. As they are often the members of the family who most easily adapt to new situations, they are taking on some of the family management tasks that their parents would ordinarily perform. This places enormous pressure on young adults as they are being asked to take on a household support role before they are mature enough to do so. Having not finished school, they lack the necessary academic and life skills to compete in an illegal job market where the unemployment rate among Jordanians is 30%. Those who are not attending school and cannot find a job struggle with feelings of uselessness and lack ambitions for their future.
Other categories of children-at-risk include those who are disabled, medically fragile and slow learners.
Men and boys at risk
The set of problems faced by many Iraqi men and male youth residing in Jordan relate to their confinement, loss of income, loss of identity and shifted role within the family. All of these contribute to a sense of frustration, low self—esteem, and loss of control. Male youth are perceived as potential instigators of extremism and crime, regardless of their real intentions; schools and the police complain of increasingly difficult behaviors observed in young and idle Iraqi youth. CARE found, as did the protection mission, that young males especially are presenting many physical problems due to stress induced factors.
Men are considered at-risk because they are usually the ones who fear detention or deportation. While the official position of the authorities is that deportations are conducted only for criminal behavior, this fear persists among male Iraqis. We heard no reports of women or children being detained or deported. As men are more fearful of arrest they are thus much less mobile than women. Despite these circumstances, approximately 50% of men manage to find the means to support their families. However, this atmosphere is oppressive and creates fear among men and the resulting stresses affect all members of their families. It was suggested to the mission that there is an increase in domestic violence, sexual harassment, and rape of women, adding to the number of cases of women who were raped and abused prior to and during their flight from Iraq.
UNHCR, Measuring Protection by Numbers, 2005 (released Nov 2006).
Report of the ICMC / USCCB Mission – Protection Needs in Jordan