Despite the reputation of being one of the world’s great receivers of refugees, Jordan has been accused of deporting Syrian refugees without giving them the benefit to contest their removal.
According to a report released recently by Human Rights Watch, in the first five months of 2017, about 400 Syrian refugees were deported per month and about 300 registered refugees returned to Syria per month in what appeared to be a voluntary movement. The report also estimates that 500 refugees are believed to have return to Syria. International humanitarian workers believe the increase in deportation is directly linked to more strict Jordan security measures in response to the attacks perpetrated by Daesh near the Rukban district, in June 2016, and around the southern city of Karak in December 2016.
Humans Rights Watch interviewed some Syrian refugees who remained in Jordan and 13 who were deported. One of them was Nasser, a father of eight who fled from Syria in February 2012. All his family, including parents, brothers, and the children were all deported back in 2016. Nasser did not know clearly the reasons of his deportation. He was working, and had already built a fully house that he had to leave behind to return to Syria. None of the refugees who returned to Syria said they felt safe in their origin country.
The report begins with several recommendations to the Jordan Ministry of Interior, United Nations and donor governments. Some of them are:
- The cease of collective expulsions of Syrian refugees
- Respect the treaty obligation Jordan has signed not to return anyone to a place where he or she would be exposed to torture, or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
- Provide anyone at risk of deportation to Syria with the opportunity to meet with UNHCR as soon as possible after apprehension
- Ensure that Jordanian officials and UNHCR fully inform any Syrian seeking voluntary repatriation about conditions in areas of return.
Humans Rights Watch finishes the report quoting the article 36 of the Arab Charter on Human Rights to state clear that, under international law, collective expulsions are prohibited:
The full report can be accessed here: https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/jordan1017_web.pdf
By Giulliana Moreira (UFRJ)