Seven years into the Syria crisis, Syrian refugees remain in exile as their country continues to face a protracted conflict and an overwhelming humanitarian crisis. With 13.1 million people requiring humanitarian assistance in Syria and 5.5 million Syrian refugees worldwide1 (mainly hosted in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt), this remains the world’s largest displacement crisis.
As of 31 December 2017, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recorded 655,624 registered Syrian refugees in Jordan2, a number that has remained consistent over the past three years, mainly due to the increased entry restrictions into the Kingdom. Close to 80 per cent of registered refugees live outside the camps, primarily concentrated in urban and rural areas in the northern governorates of Jordan, with lesser populations in the southern governorates3. The remaining Syrian refugees live in camps, mainly in Zaatari Camp (±80,000), Azraq Camp (±36,040)4 and the Emirati Jordanian Camp (±7,000). They are to be added to the multiple other refugee populations and persons of concerns that Jordan hosts, including 65,922 Iraqis, and more than 13,000 from Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.5
The significant influx of refugees over the last seven years has had an impact on service delivery and generated the need for humanitarian assistance. In response to this crisis, the international community worked with the government of Jordan to create the Jordan Compact, a ground-breaking deal that aims to provide 200,000 work permits for Syrian refugees in exchange for preferential access to the European market as well as access to conditional financing from the World Bank. More than two years on, and on the eve of another international Conference, the needs of Syrian refugees in Jordan remain staggering. The economic hardship which is affecting Jordan has significantly impeded the implementation of the Jordan Compact. While progress has been made to improve the legal status of Syrian refugees in Jordan, many barriers to economic opportunities, quality education and access to essential services prevent the fulfilment of their rights, exacerbate their vulnerability and raise major protection concerns.
Based on INGOs research, assessments and testimonies, this third edition of the JIF Protection brief aims to highlight the severe consequences of limited legal status for Syrian refugees in Jordan, the specific vulnerabilities that derive from it and the everyday impact of these restrictions.