Christians facing extreme difficulties in modern, moderate Jordan.
By Albert Michael for AINA, with thanks to Davsmi:
(AINA) — Award winning filmmaker and investigative freelance journalist Nuri Kino (CV) traveled to Amman, the capital of Jordan, to meet with Christian Assyrians (also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs) families from Iraq. His mission was to penetrate deeper than the daily articles and news reports, a quest to hear the refugees’ own stories. He traveled with Sister Hatune Dogan, a philanthropist who runs her own relief organization called “Helping Hand to the Poor.” They were joined in Amman with Febroniya Atto, a lawyer from Holland.
Their report (PDF) begins by revealing that the Jordanian government does not accept the Iraqis as refugees but as “guests.” The implication of this terminology is that the refugees are deprived of the status that would entitle them their rights as established by the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and its 1967 protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Jordanian government admits, by referring to their own calculations, that there are 750,000 Iraqi refugees stranded in Jordan. Only 25,000 are registered with the UNHCR, that’s just 3 per cent of the total number the Jordanian government acknowledges as Iraqi guests. The UNHCR concedes that the reason why the figures of those registered are so low is the fact that the refugees are afraid of being discovered by the authorities if they register at the UNHCR. Those that do register are provided with “protection cards,” which identifies them as registered refugees. But the Jordanian authorities do not care about the cards. Anyone without a valid visa is arrested and repatriated, with or without the UNHCR issued protection cards.
The financial burden imposed on the refugees is staggering. With no means to a regular income because they are unemployable, coupled with the exorbitant rental rates, most are living in substandard conditions and dependent on handouts from local church organizations and Caritas International. A local aid worker with Caritas describes their almost impossible task of helping the refugees. “The burden is heavy; we cannot even meet people anymore. They have to wait several months to meet us because of the long queue. Four to five cases a week are denied help,” says a Caritas employee name Gaby as her smile changes into a sad expression. “It is easy to run short of money. Some refugees have cancer or heart diseases; they are impossible to help because the costs are too heavy.”
Read it all.