Several countries around the world including Jordan are slowly recognizing the right of refugees to work and providing them opportunities to join the formal labor market. Refugees International is partnering with the Center for Global Development (CGD), the IKEA Foundation, Tent, and the Western Union Foundation in a joint initiative to push for more laws and policies that allow refugees to work legally and in decent conditions.
The Jordan Compact is an ambitious effort by the international community and the Kingdom of Jordan to help mitigate the economic toll of hosting a large number of Syrian refugees and turn it into a development opportunity. However, more than two years into the Compact, the results are disappointing and many refugees in Jordan are worse off.
Syria is in the midst of one of the largest and fastest displacement crises since the start of the country’s bloody civil war eight years ago. As many as 330,000 Syrians have been displaced and are fleeing toward Jordan and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights to escape the Syrian government’s rapid advance. But despite the worsening crisis, international borders remain closed.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes clear the right of every human being to seek safety in another country. But eight years into the Syrian conflict, this most basic of human rights barely matters because there is so little leeway for people to leave Syrian territory in the first place. If the international community truly wants to help Syrians, it must insist that Syria’s neighbors open their borders, and it needs to offer financial, technical and humanitarian assistance to make that happen.
Just over three years ago, the Zaatari refugee camp was established to accommodate the growing number of Syrian refugees who were fleeing to the neighbouring country of Jordan. Located around 70 kilometres from the capital city of Amman and 30 kilometres from the Syrian border, Zaatari occupies a space of some seven square kilometres and currently houses around 80,000 refugees.
In less than three years, the Syrian conflict has forced well over two million of that country’s citizens to take refuge in other states. Some 200,000 have fled to the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, and 600,000 to Jordan, the two countries visited by Refugees International (RI) during its most recent mission to the Middle East. These refugees seem likely to remain in exile for a considerable amount of time.