Roufan Nahhas, based in Jordan, has been covering cultural issues in Jordan for more than two decades.

  • Jordan looks for new answers to refugee crisis, On: Sun, 07 May 2017

  • I AM, an exhibition by Arab women artists, On: Sun, 07 May 2017

  • Aqaba — Jordan’s ‘Bride of the Red Sea’, On: Sun, 30 Apr 2017

  • Halla Walla: First Arab-inspired emojis app, On: Sun, 23 Apr 2017

  • Biographer seeks to preserve memories of Palestinians, On: Sun, 16 Apr 2017

  • Jordan’s ‘City of Mosaics’ struggling to preserve its heritage, On: Sun, 09 Apr 2017

  • Nike hijab for Muslim athletes welcomed, criticised, On: Sun, 26 Mar 2017

  • Jordan’s water shortage made worse by refugee crisis, On: Sun, 19 Mar 2017

  • Arabic tech-term translation app in the works, On: Sun, 05 Mar 2017

  • Controversy in Jordan over its two-tier minimum wage system , On: Sun, 26 Feb 2017

  • Jordan’s anti-ISIS Syria air strikes send a message home, On: Sun, 19 Feb 2017

  • Obesity a major health problem in Jordan, On: Sun, 19 Feb 2017

  • Jordan alarmed by rising familicide, On: Sun, 12 Feb 2017

  • Terror, taxes hinder Jordan tourism sector, On: Sun, 22 Jan 2017

  • Arab women to take part in North Pole expedition, On: Sun, 18 Dec 2016

  • Jordan Trail is an adventure through history and culture, On: Sun, 18 Dec 2016

  • Begging an alarming phenomenon in Jordan, On: Sun, 11 Dec 2016

  • Jordan’s cyber-crime law: A double-edged sword, On: Sun, 13 Nov 2016

  • Jordanians divided on educational reform, On: Sun, 09 Oct 2016

  • UNESCO World Heritage site, Jordan’s Um er-Rasas seeks recognition, On: Sun, 02 Oct 2016

  • Ailing Jordanian orphan teen is inspiration to others, On: Sun, 21 Aug 2016

  • What lies ahead for Syrian refugees in Jordan? , On: Sun, 21 Aug 2016

  • Jordanian election a step towards new power-sharing system, On: Sun, 14 Aug 2016

  • Jordan’s Jerash festival marks 31st year despite regional turmoil, On: Sun, 14 Aug 2016

  • Jordan academy helps blind would-be painters, On: Sun, 03 Jul 2016

  • Amman’s Restaurant of Mercy opens to all faiths, On: Sun, 03 Jul 2016

  • Jordanians celebrate Ramadan with 1.4 million refugees , On: Sun, 05 Jun 2016

  • Jordan baptism site magnet to visitors, On: Fri, 18 Dec 2015

  • Terrorism-induced violence a menace to young minds, experts warn, On: Fri, 11 Dec 2015

  • Life is a struggle for Mideast refugees in Europe, On: Fri, 27 Nov 2015

  • EU helps Jordan adapt to renewable energy, On: Fri, 27 Nov 2015

  • The many treasures of Jordan’s Dead Sea, On: Fri, 27 Nov 2015

  • Women Arab sport drivers racing v taboos, On: Fri, 13 Nov 2015

  • Preserving Jordanian handicraft, On: Fri, 06 Nov 2015

  • Jordan auto museum exhibits royal collection, On: Fri, 06 Nov 2015

  • Amman: A city with two downtowns, On: Fri, 16 Oct 2015

  • Jordan’s neglected gypsies, On: Fri, 02 Oct 2015

  • Al Ma’wa: A shelter for smuggled, abused wild animals, On: Fri, 25 Sep 2015

  • Jordan offers important programme for autistic children, On: Fri, 18 Sep 2015

  • Jordan looks for new answers to refugee crisis

    Syrian refugees represent almost 20% of Jordan’s total population.

    Destination unknown. Young Syrian refugees are seen at Jordan’s Zaatari camp, last month. (AFP)

    2017/05/07 Issue: 105 Page: 11

    Amman - Jordan is grappling with its refugee crisis, mulling what to do with the large number of people who continue to flee the war in Syria, which started more than six years ago.

    Convened under the theme “Hu­man Security: International Com­munity Obligations and Hosting Communities’ Role,” the Second In­ternational Conference for Refugees in the Middle East met in Amman.

    Organised by the Refugees, Dis­placed Persons and Forced Migra­tion Studies Centre at northern Jor­dan’s Yarmouk University, which conducts research and studies on issues related to refugees and dis­placed persons, the conference fo­cused on the need to continue sup­port for Jordan as it carries on with its humanitarian mission of hosting refugees.

    Jordanian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury opened the event by stressing that the refugees’ cri­sis has been a critical issue for six years.

    “Jordan’s population is 9.5 mil­lion, in which 6.6 million are Jor­danians,” he said. “The kingdom’s population grew tenfold in the last 55 years and the last six years put a lot of pressure on the various key sectors in Jordan due to the refu­gees’ crisis, as hosting them costs 25% of the total budget of Jordan.”

    Fakhoury said there were approx­imately 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, which also hosts Pales­tinian and Iraqi refugees.

    Data indicate that 657,000 Syrian refugees are registered with the UN refugee agency. About 177,070 are in Amman, 158,585 in Mafraq, 108,826 in Zarqa and 135,535 in Irbid.

    Yarmouk University President Re­fat al-Faouri said Jordan was doing what it can despite the country’s small size and limited resources.

    “As part of the Yarmouk Univer­sity social responsibility we have signed an agreement with the UN­ESCO to cover the education of 175 Syrian refugee students,” he said.

    Fawaz Momani, director of the Refugees, Displaced Persons and Forced Migration Studies Centre, said: “The convening of this con­ference came as a warning sign at a time when the number of refugees in the world reached 65 million, who were forced to leave their coun­tries due to persecution, torture and abuse.”

    “Europe receives 6% of them, while 86% are still in low-income countries, which is an indication of the fragility of the global system in dealing with asylum issues and their consequences,” Momani added.

    He stated that the centre recently completed three pilot projects to improve the quality of life for Syrian refugees in Jordan.

    “We have the smart electronic platforms that employ e-guidance that will provide social and mental health services to refugees through smart phones, e-learning and the third related to the launch of the Sa­hel Horan FM radio station for Syr­ian refugees,” he said.

    Maram Ababneh, from Jordan’s Ministry of Awqaf Islamic Affairs and Holy Places, said conferences give hope to a humanitarian issue that has been troubling the region, especially Jordan, for a long time.

    “For years now, government and public have been involved in such a huge issue, and most of us have been contributing time and effort based on ‘helping each other’ be­cause we cannot watch the crisis and just stand still,” said Ababneh, who led a charity campaign in her hometown of Irbid.

    “We have assisted around 30 Syr­ian families who escaped the atroci­ties and killings in their country and provided them with blankets, food, heaters and necessary items and we at the ministry have been involved in teaching and training refugees for such a long time,” she added.

    The UNHCR said that, of the total number of registered Syrian refu­gees who live outside camps, about 49% are aged 18-59. Those aged 5-11 years total about 19% of those reg­istered Syrians. About 80 children are born in the Zaatari, the oldest of the Jordan-based camps, each week, and 57% of the population is under the age of 18.

    Among those attending the con­ference were Jordanians who were not happy with the presence of refu­gees in their country.

    “We don’t want financial support. We want the refugees to leave the country,” said Abu Khaled, who re­fused to give his full name.

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