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HRW: Syria refugees being deported from Jordan

Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp which is home to 80,000 Syrian refugees [Save the Children]
Image of Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp which is home to 80,000 Syrian refugees [Save the Children]

Jordanian authorities have been summarily deporting Syrian refugees, including collective expulsions of large families, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The Syrians are not being given a meaningful chance to challenge their removal and Jordan has not assessed their need for international protection, the international NGO said.

According to the 27-page report entitled “‘I Have No Idea Why They Sent Us Back’: Jordanian Deportations and Expulsions of Syrian Refugees”, authorities deported 400 registered Syrian refugees each month during the first five months of 2017.

In addition, approximately 300 registered refugees each month returned to Syria during that time under circumstances that appeared to be voluntary.

Another estimated 500 refugees each month returned to Syria under circumstances that are unclear.

Jordan has hosted more than 654,500 Syrian refugees since 2001.

Read: Jordan and the Syrian Badia

“Jordan shouldn’t be sending people back to Syria without making sure they wouldn’t face a real risk of torture or serious harm and unless they have had a fair opportunity to plead their case for protection,” said Bill Frelick, refugee rights director at Human Rights Watch.

But Jordan has collectively expelled groups of refugees, denied people suspected of security violations due process, and ignored the real threats deportees face upon return to Syria.

The increased deportation rates followed armed attacks on Jordanian forces, including an attack in northeast Jordan in June 2016 that killed seven, and attacks around the southern city of Karak in December 2016 that killed 19.

“Those suspected of posing threats should be given a fair opportunity to challenge the evidence against them and to have the authorities consider the risk of torture and other severe human rights abuse if returned,” Frelick said.

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