Legal Status, Labelling, and Protection: The Case of Iraqi ‘Refugees’ in Jordan
International Journal of Refugee Law, Forthcoming
44 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2013
Date Written: March 8, 2013
Discussion of Middle Eastern refugee law and policy has focused largely on Palestinians, with relatively little analysis of non-Palestinian refugees and the legal framework that applies to them in Middle Eastern countries. This article seeks to address this gap through a wide-ranging examination of the treatment of Iraqi refugees in Jordan (a non-signatory state to the Refugee Convention), following the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. In so doing, it also examines certain issues with wider global implications, such as the nature of refugee protection, the importance of identity, and the need for improved ‘burden sharing’. The article provides a brief outline of the background to refugees in Jordan, together with a discussion of the legal regime applicable to asylum seekers and refugees. It assesses the importance of legal status and labelling to the Iraqi in Jordan, not only for access to rights and provision of needs, but also for identity. The tension between the UNHCR’s concepts of ‘protection’ and ‘protection space’ and the Jordanian Government’s own approach to sanctuary are explored, with reference to five key areas: employment, health, education, resettlement and return. The article concludes by reflecting on the extent to which the Jordanian case study can assist improved management of mass flight in the future.
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