UNHCR Commends Jordan’s Efforts to Address Refugee Needs

June 23, 2017

AMMAN — The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has praised Jordan’s “courage” and support for Syrian refugees as the agency on Tuesday marked World Refugee Day.
A UNHCR statement said the resilience and courage of more than 65 million people who have been forced to flee war, persecution and violence was celebrated yesterday.
Commending Jordan’s efforts in supporting the refugee population after the Syrian crisis which started six years ago, UNHCR Representative to Jordan Stefano Severe said: “The courageous steps taken by the government of Jordan following the London and Brussels conferences should be applauded. I welcome the decision of the government to approve consecutive grace periods for Syrians to apply for work permits, and the waiving of the work permit fees.” 
One of the countries most impacted by the consequences of forced displacement in the world, Jordan is host to 1.3 million refugees, with the latest UNHCR figures showing that the Kingdom hosts the second largest number of refugees per capita in the world, with 1 in 11 people forcibly exiled.
Jordan is also the seventh-largest refugee-hosting country in the world, with over 735,000 refugees and asylum seekers registered for international protection with UNHCR across 40 nationalities, the statement added. 
This year, the World Refugee Day was held under the theme “#WithRefugees”, in a bid to emphasise and celebrate the importance of inclusion. 
“Refugees unable to return to their countries want nothing more than protection and the opportunity to make something of their lives to benefit themselves, their families and their host communities”, the organisers said. Refugees in Jordan are facing increased hardship, with 93 per cent of them living under the poverty line. 
UNHCR is working together with the government and partners to break through such challenges with medium-term initiatives like cash assistance. 
But, with the Syrian crisis in its seventh year and international funding requirements unmet, broader solutions have now become the imperative, the statement noted. 
In 2016, a major shift was operated with regards to livelihood opportunities for refugees in Jordan. Following the London “Supporting Syria and the Region” donor conference, the government eased restrictions on Syrian refugees to obtain work in certain employment categories that preclude competition with local workers. 
Some 50,000 work permits have been issued or renewed so far, and improvements have been noted in work contracts, according to the statement.
To manifest support and solidarity with refugees, the UN agency also launched a #WithRefugees petition over recent days in Amman. 
The agency described it as “an expression of support and solidarity as well as a call to decision makers around the world to take action on one of the most pressing issues of our times”.
Jordan Times
June 21, 2017