2021 in Review
Humanitarian situation in 2021
Jordan remains deeply affected by the conflict in Syria, which is still the world’s largest displacement crisis. Jordan hosts the second largest number of refugees globally relative to its population: 1 in 14 people in the country is a refugee.
The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has made Jordanians and refugees more vulnerable. The pandemic strained Jordanian social and economic resources, affecting the capacity of the system to provide a comprehensive response to the needs of the 660,000 registered Syrian refugees who mainly reside in host communities, as well as vulnerable Jordanians.
Protection risk on Syrian Youth
Jordanian authorities have accommodated Syrian refugees, granting access to the education system, certain segments of the labor market, and access to subsidized health care. That said, Syrians continue to face major humanitarian challenges: access to employment remains low and restricted (notably, only 5 per cent of work permits were assigned to women.) A fifth of Syrian refugee households are food-insecure; with 67 per cent vulnerable to food insecurity. Refugees outside camps often spend a high portion of their income on poor housing, while much shelter in camps remain inadequate and unsafe. Women and girls face multiple forms of GBV.
COVID-19 has only compounded economic vulnerabilities and thus, negative coping strategies and protection risk. These coping strategies include reducing spending on essential non-food items, abandoning education, selling their household assets, engaging in early marriage, child labor, or resorting to informal, degrading, or exploitative means for income-generation.
As a consequence, there are rising protection concerns, including sexual harassment and assault, emotional and verbal abuse, domestic violence and early marriage. Violence levels and intensity have notably increased since the onset of COVID-19.
Refugees from nationalities other than Syrian
In addition to Syrian refugees, Jordan hosts 56 other nationalities of refugees and asylum seekers – predominantly Iraqi (67,188), Yemeni (14,774), Sudanese (6,096) and Somali (744).
Similar to Syrian refugees, most of these people live in urban areas and face similar economic and protection vulnerabilities.
Palestinian refugees from Syria
The conflict in Syria forced 120,000 Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) to flee the country searching for safety and protection elsewhere, mostly in Lebanon and Jordan. PRS have entered Jordan in 2011/2012, when the border was open to Palestine and Syrian refugees alike.
However, in 2013, Jordan, already a host to 2.3 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA, introduced a policy of non-admission for PRS.
Their lack of legal status and corresponding protection risks in Jordan are a source of major concern to UNRWA and the humanitarian community.
The number of PRS in Jordan has remained stable over the past years, with 17,349 PRS (5,355 women, 4,518 men, 7,476 children, including 295 persons with disabilities) recorded with UNRWA as of December 2019. Of them, 356 reside in King Abdullah Park (KAP), where their movement is restricted, and they face several protection concerns.
People living in Informal Tented Settlements
In addition, vulnerable out-of-reach communities (VOC), living in Informal Tented Settlements are located throughout the Kingdom. These communities are usually, but not always, Syrian refugees and also Jordanian, Palestinian, Iraqi, Pakistani and Egyptian. Most ITS’ are located in remote areas, these communities are mobile and move to access work.
People living in tented settlements face a range of vulnerabilities; in most instances, they are migrants or refugees who work in seasonal and low-skilled labor, live in makeshift shelters exposed to harsh weather conditions, and lack access to basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation.
Furthermore, due to their high rates of movement and their location in remote areas, Informal tented communities are often unable to access services such as healthcare and education.