Jordan INGO Forum Newsletter Newsletter January-February | Issue 7 [EN/AR]
In this issue
• Host communities
Changing the narrative
Voices from Jordan
• Ruba’s new world of colours
• Brussels Conference
• Civil Society
The situation in Rukban, at the north-eastern border between Jordan and Syria remains unchanged since the last truck to truck distribution by crane from the UN early January. There has been no new distribution since and no information when the next one might take place. Negotiations are ongoing between the UN, Syrian Government and other stakeholders to access Rukban from Damascus but so far no agreement has been reached.
According to UNHCR, the active camp population of Azraq camp stood at around 35,800 Syrian refugees at the end of February. As of 31 January, UNHCR recorded 9,133 Syrian refugees registered within V-5, an increase of 533 individuals since our last reporting. In January, no refugees were relocated to the unfenced area of Azraq Camp, while partners report the relocation of several hundreds of refugees from Zaatari and host communities to V-5. UNHCR indicated that people being relocated to V5 fall into different categories, mostly linked to alleged criminal activities. It remains unclear whether these are temporary or permanent measures and whether all families forcibly relocated to Azraq V-5 will be transferred to unfenced areas in Azraq or back to Zaatari, or to host communities at some point.
Beside the lack of information shared with refugees, having alleged criminals concentrated in one place amongst a population made up mainly by women, elderly and children (brought from the berm) might have implications for the safety of the population in V-5, result in social tension within V-5 and as well as between former V5 residents and residents of other villages. In addition, INGOs working in Azraq have noted that ex-village 5 and 2 residents do not enjoy the same rights as other camp residents, especially in terms of freedom of movement to leave the camp or obtain work permits.
The situation in the Emirati Jordanian Camp (EJC) which is home to over 7,000 Syrian refugees also warrants further attention. INGO working there note ongoing protection challenges with overcrowded caravans, lack of occupational and recreational activities as well as the rarity of safe spaces in the camp contributing to a prevalence of violence against children and SGBV cases.
Lastly, JIF members have raised concerns vis-à-vis the recent announcement to further reduce health subsidies to Syrian refugees who will now be required to pay the foreigners’ fees with a 20 per cent discount. Assessments largely show that in host communities, the cost of healthcare is one of the most significant impediments for refugees to access such services and acts as an inhibiting factor to access livelihood opportunities. With this new policy and without additional donor support, refugees run the risk of falling deeper in poverty.