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Sudanese refugees’ protest near UNHCR enters 17th day

By Khetam Malkawi - Dec 03,2015 - Last updated at Dec 08,2015

Sudanese refugees set up camp near the UNHCR building in Amman this week to demand 'better treatment' (Photo by Raad Adayleh)

AMMAN — For the 17th consecutive day, more than 200 Sudanese refugees are still camping in front of the UNHCR building in Amman with calls for better treatment and the same rights as refugees from other countries residing in Jordan.

Some protesters interviewed by The Jordan Times claimed that their resettlement files are being postponed in favour of refugees from other countries, while others said their children are not going to school as no party is covering the cost of their education this year.

Gassim Khalil, a member of the Sudanese community in Amman, said services provided to his fellow citizens are “the worst” compared to other refugees.

“We were promised to receive JD75 as winter assitance from the UNHCR, but we have not received anything so far … we live in difficult conditions,” Khalil told The Jordan Times.

Khalil, who arrived in Jordan more than two years ago, said his application to be registered as refugee with the UNHCR was approved in November last year, and since then, he has received no information about the status of his resettlement procedures.

“I was forced to leave my hometown in Darfur, and now it is not easy to live with no support here,” the 30-year-old said, adding that sometimes he works as a daily labourer to make a living.

According to Khalil, most of his compatriots camping in front of the UNHCR have no place to go now as they cannot afford to continue paying rent.

Andrew Harper, the UNHCR representative to Jordan, stressed again there is no discrimination against Sudanese refugees regarding processing their applications.

On the contrary, he noted “we are processing Sudanese [refugees] more than any other group of refugees and they have a great resettlement programme.”

However, the UN official told The Jordan Times that the UNHCR is concerned about the presence of the refugees in front of the agency’s premises for several days.

Harper said agency officials are talking to them every day to explain the processing issue and telling then “this is not the best practice.”

“They use women and children to push their case,” he charged, noting that the protesters are on municipal land and they have to respect the country’s laws.

According to the UNHRC official, Sudanese refugees in Beirut are staging a similar protest.

Commenting on efforts to end the demonstration, Harper said the agency is talking with Jordanian authorities about the next step. “We don’t want to create a situation.”

Meanwhile, a Sudanese refugee, who preferred to remain unnamed, told The Jordan Times that their children could not go to school this year as the agency stopped covering their education costs.

In response, Harper explained that “previously the Education Ministry provided a waiver for Sudanese students… now we are still waiting for the waiver.”

In previous remarks, the UN official said some 4,000 Sudanese are registered with the UNHCR in Jordan and they account for 0.5 per cent of more than 700,000 registered refugees in the Kingdom.


Jordan hosts refugees from 40 countries, according to Harper. The majority are Syrians (more than 600,000), followed by Iraqis. There are also Sudanese and Somali refugees, in addition to refugees of other nationalities.

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