Jordan tops list of refugee host countries

Published November 16th, 2016 - 06:00 GMT
Syrian refugees at the Rukban camp, near the Jordanian border. (AFP/File)
Syrian refugees at the Rukban camp, near the Jordanian border. (AFP/File)

Jordan has topped a list of 10 countries that host more than half of the world’s refugees, according to an Amnesty International (AI) report released on Tuesday. 

“Just 10 of the world’s 193 countries host more than half  of its refugees. A small number of countries have been left to do far too much just because they are neighbours to a crisis,” said AI Secretary General Salil Shetty in a statement to present the report. 

Jordan, which has taken in over 2.7 million people, was named as the top refugee-hosting country, followed by Turkey with over 2.5 million refugees, Pakistan with 1.6 million and Lebanon which hosts over 1.5 million people, AI said in a comprehensive assessment of the refugee crisis titled "Tackling the global refugee crisis: from shirking to sharing responsibility". The 10 countries, which collectively shelter 56 per cent of the world’s 21 million refugees, account for less than 2.5 per cent of the global economy, AI said, noting that many of the world’s wealthiest countries “host the fewest and do the least”. 

Other countries on the list include Iran, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad.

The current situation “is inherently unsustainable, exposing the millions fleeing war and persecution in countries like Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq to intolerable misery and suffering”, said Shetty. 

“It is time for leaders to enter into a serious, constructive debate about how our societies are going to help people forced to leave their homes by war and persecution,” the AI secretary general said. 

“They need to explain why the world can bail out banks, develop new technologies and fight wars, but cannot find safe homes for 21 million refugees, just 0.3 per cent of the world’s population,” he added. 

Mohammad Momani, minister of state for media affairs,  said Jordan remained proud of its humanitarian role as a host country and had reached “the highest moral grounds ever achieved”. 

But the Kingdom is not receiving enough support to deal with the repercussions of the crisis, said Momani, who is also the government spokesperson. 

While Jordan hosts some 1.3 million Syrian refugees, the Kingdom has only received 35 per cent of the cost of hosting Syrians, he told The Jordan Times. 

A Planning and International Cooperation Ministry study revealed in September that the indirect economic impact of the Syrian crisis on Jordan between 2013 and 2016 has reached $12.37 billion.

In previous remarks, Planning and International Cooperation Minister Imad Fakhoury said that the Jordan Response Plan has shown, with data and statistics, the numerous challenges facing Jordan as a result of the Syrian crisis, including a decline in GDP growth, mounting budget and trade deficits and increased competition for jobs and affordable housing. 

Other challenges include budgetary pressure from additional security costs, subsidies and income loss, as well as major risks to social cohesion and stability, and an increase in absolute poverty in refugee-impacted governorates like Mafraq and Irbid. 

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