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Report says non-Syrian refugees struggle to obtain aid, income

By Elizabeth Turnbull - Jul 24,2019 - Last updated at Jul 24,2019

AMMAN — Of the more than 87,000 registered refugees or asylum seekers of non-Syrian nationalities in Jordan, many struggle to obtain humanitarian assistance, work, adequate schooling and nutrition, according to a World Food Programme and REACH report issued in April. 

Most non-Syrian refugees are not issued work permits and they receive comparatively low humanitarian assistance, making these populations vulnerable to exploitation, poor wages and long working hours as most of these refugees are employed informally, making any cuts in aid more serious, the report said. 

“As for our non-Syrian funding appeal, we are only 17 per cent funded for 2019,” spokesperson for UNHCR Jordan, Lilly Carlisle, told the Jordan Times Tuesday. “Key issues in need of continued support include our monthly cash assistance program... [which] is a vital lifeline for approximately 30,000 refugee families in Jordan, including many non-Syrians, which helps them cover basic needs such as rent and healthcare costs.”

One in four Somali refugee cases, 18 per cent of Iraqi refugees and 14 per cent of Sudanese cases, reported cash from aid organisations as their primary source of income, with Yemeni reporting the most highest amount of amount of income generated from this source and Somalis the lowest, according to the 2018 Jordan Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment issued by the World Food Programme and REACH.

For the non-Syrian refugees who were employed at the time of the study, 80 per cent faced exploitation in the workplace, with 16 per cent of Sudanese refugees saying they were forced to work longer hours than they had initially consented to, and one in five Somali refugees not receiving pay for their work, something that has also occurred with Sudanese and Iraqi refugees, according to the study.

Non-Syrian refugees of employment age attributed not having a work permit as their primary reason for not being employed, with 41 per cent of such refugees not wanting to work without one, as refugees who are apprehended working without a legal work permit are subject to sever penalties, according to the report.

The report showed that 37 per cent of Yemenis and 35 per cent of Sudanese refugees cite support for rent and improved shelter as their main unmet need.

Recommendations offered in the report to improve the living conditions of non-Syrian refugees include raising awareness on their needs, advocating against the earmarking of funding based on nationality and advocating for the inclusion of non-Syrian refugees in the formal economy, among other things.  

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