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On World Refugee Day, UNHCR Jordan celebrates the inclusion of refugees

By JT - Jun 19,2021 - Last updated at Jun 19,2021

Children are seen playing at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp in Mafraq Governorate, some 80 kilometres northeast of Amman, in this photo dated January 28, 2018 (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — World Refugee Day on June 20 celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home, said a UNHCR statement made available to The Jordan Times.

Jordan continues to be the second host country of refugees per capita in the world, according to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. 

Currently home to over 750,000 refugees, Jordan has time and again opened its doors to those forced to flee. Today, more than 10 years into the Syria crisis, the vast majority of Jordanians - 94 per cent - still say they are sympathetic towards refugees.

This positive attitude towards including refugees in Jordanian society has also extended to the health sector. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, refugees in Jordan have been included in the national response and, more recently, have been able to receive the vaccine free of charge. Forty per cent of eligible refugees living in refugee camps in Jordan have now received at least their first dose of the vaccine.

Despite this, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on healthcare, schools and communities, severely impacting refugees and their Jordanian hosts, and pushing more families into poverty. This means refugees are increasingly resorting to moving to lower-quality shelters, skipping rent, accumulating debt or reducing food expenditure, the UN agency said.

In addressing these challenges and building back better, UNHCR is committed to supporting both refugee and Jordanian communities.  

“Our assistance to refugees must be part of the broader recovery efforts to help all those affected by the economic impact of the crisis.  The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated that we all have a role to play in keeping each other safe. UNHCR is dedicated to work with the Jordanian government to ensure that the needs of vulnerable refugees and Jordanians are met,” said Dominik Bartsch, UNHCR Jordan Representative.

In recognition of the skills refugees have to offer, on World Refugee Day, UNHCR is launching a Nursing and Health Care Lab in partnership with Luminus Technical University College (LTUC), which will benefit both refugee and Jordanian students. Using the latest medical equipment, machines and amenities for Paediatrics, Maternity, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the lab simulates the environment of a hospital providing vocational training to ensure students’ smooth transition to the labour market.

Additionally, through a collaboration with the UN Chamber Music Society and in a performance led by Jordanian singer, Leen Alfaqih, and accompanied by a refugee choir, UNHCR Jordan is using the power of music to highlight that “Together, we can achieve anything. Together we can heal, learn and shine”.

World Refugee Day 2021 is thus an opportunity to celebrate the power of inclusion. Refugees are doctors, nurses, entrepreneurs, teachers, students, artists, farmers and agriculture workers; if given the chance, they will continue to contribute to stronger, safer and more vibrant societies, concluded the statement.

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