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Living in Limbo: Iraqi Young Women and Men in Jordan

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Executive Summary

More than six years after the start of the war in Iraq, it appears that a significant number of Iraqis will remain in Jordan for the foreseeable future. This longer-term, protracted refugee situation is likely to lead to decreased international support. In view of this, Iraqi refugees living in Jordan should be granted some type of temporary residency status and the restrictions on their right to work should be eased. The international community should continue to support Jordanian services that have been extended to Iraqis, such as education. Resources should also be channeled to promote greater economic opportunities for both Iraqi refugees and host communities.

Pre-employment readiness, job training and access to the labor market are particularly crucial for the large number of younger refugees. Iraqi young women and men, particularly those who have missed out on years of school, need access to education, skills training and employment opportunities. These skills are critical for those who will resettle to another country and for those who will eventually return to Iraq. Allowing Iraqis to earn a safe livelihood and young people to acquire skills is in the economic and security interest of Jordan, and is essential for the future of Iraq and the region.

The Women's Refugee Commission visited Jordan in October 2009 to look at the educational and skills-building needs and opportunities for Iraqi young women and men. This report aims to provide information and recommendations to assist the Government of Jordan, the international community and local agencies in designing and implementing programs and policies that can ease the burden of the Iraqi population on Jordan's infrastructure and best prepare Iraqis for life after displacement.