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Iraqi Asylum Seekers in Jordan - page 6 / 36





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eastern part of the city where rent is cheaper: Jebel Amman, Zarqa, Hashimi. In the North of the country, refugees are mainly located in and around Irbid and in the South of the country, in an around Aqaba.

Jordan is not a signatory of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention but has signed a MOU with UNHCR. According to the MOU, Jordan agrees to admit asylum seekers, including undocumented entrants, and to respect UNHCR’s refugee status determination (RSD). The memorandum also adopts the refugee definition contained in the UN Refugee Convention and forbids the refoulement of refugees and asylum seekers5. UNHCR has registered 50,000 Iraqis as of 25 October 2007 due to prior capacity constraints, and hopes to register 55,000 by the end of December of 2007.

Some of the findings of the Fafo report which have protection implications are the following:6

  • Majority of Iraqis have arrived as family units

  • 77% of the population arriving post 2003

  • 65% of those surveyed were not registered with UNHCR

  • The Iraqi population has a higher prevalence of chronic diseases than Jordanians

  • 20% of families are female headed and often found among the poorer population

  • 66% of families have children under 18 years old

  • 42% survive on remittances from Iraq, making a large segment of Iraqis in Jordan at risk of becoming vulnerable with the depletion of savings and cessation of transfers

  • 20% have a plan to emigrate to a third country

  • 95% of those Iraqis who wish to return to Iraq will only do so when the security situation improves

Generalized protection needs

The protection issues listed below represent a summary of the findings of the organizations and individuals working with Iraqis, including UNHCR. These findings and observations were complemented by interviews with Iraqi refugees.

Lack of status

As Jordan is not a signatory of the 1951 convention, all Iraqis in Jordan are considered “guests”; this is a status that precludes access to opportunities to find legal work. Local integration is not a foreseeable solution for Iraqis in the long run. Currently, only 22% of the poorest section of the Iraqi community surveyed and 56% of the Iraqi community overall have a valid residency permit7. Amongst those not having valid residency papers, many are facing fines associated with this “overstay” which they cannot pay.

Mercy Corps cooperated with the Community Development Center – Sweileh (CDC), to complete a survey finalized in September 2007 of 372 Iraqis in East Amman, 72% of which were male and almost all of them were Christians. They concluded that there is a “tangible and concrete lack of information concerning the rights of asylum seekers in Jordan.” Until the rights


_ http://www.rsdwatch.org/index files/Page917.htm


Fafo Report Ibid.



Report of the ICMC / USCCB Mission – Protection Needs in Jordan


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