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Two-day global conference on refugee-related issues kicks off

Leaving host countries without sufficient support will extend the crisis further away — Fakhoury

By Laila Azzeh - May 03,2017 - Last updated at May 03,2017

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury speaks at the conference 'Refugees in the Middle East and Human Security — the Commitments of the International Community and the Role of Host Communities' in Amman on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Planning and Internationl Cooperation)

AMMAN — A conference on refugees kicked-off on Wednesday to examine the impact of forced displacement on refugees and host communities. 

Organised by Yarmouk University’s Refugees, Displaced Persons and Forced Migration Studies Centre, the second ‘‘Refugees in the Middle East and Human Security — the Commitments of the International Community and the Role of Host Communities’’ conference provides a venue for scholars and experts from around the world to discuss Jordan’s role in hosting the displaced. 

Discussions at the two-day event will also cover universal security threats associated with the refugee crisis, UNRWA’s role in serving Palestinian refugees, legal protection of children in time of crises and challenges facing the region in light of the substantial influx of refugees. 

Addressing the opening on behalf of Prime Minister Hani Mulki, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury noted that leaving host countries without sufficient support will “extend the crisis even further away”.

He called for concerted global efforts, noting that the influx of large numbers of refugees negatively affects the socioeconomic stability of host countries and threatens the national development gains achieved over the previous decades.

“Jordan has always been a haven for the displaced and has never failed to fulfil its national, religious and humanitarian duty, which demonstrates the wisdom of our Hashemite leadership and the awareness of our great citizens,” Fakhoury said. 

Citing the burden imposed on the Treasury, he highlighted other challenges facing the country, including the emergence of social problems, especially in light of the “insufficient support by the international community”. 

“Unfortunately, no solution is imminent [to the Syrian crisis],” the minister said. 

According to the UNHCR, the number of registered refugees in Jordan reached 2.8 million, Fakhoury indicated, adding that the direct cost of hosting refugees from 2012 until the end of 2016 amounted to $10.6 billion. 

“While the annual indirect cost, based on a study prepared by the UNDP, was estimated at $ 3.1-3.5 billion,” he said.  

The minister warned of the danger of leaving neighbouring countries to host refugees without the required support, saying it will have a “heavy price that increases the human suffering in the world”.

Fakhoury urged the international community to sustain the required momentum of aid and support to Jordan. 

The main aim of the conference is to track the waves of displacement in the Middle East, particularly after the so-called “Arab Spring” and to enable participants to come up with innovative ways to ease the impact of hosting refugees. 

Yarmouk University President Rifaat Faouri noted that, despite being a small country in terms of size, Jordan hosts refugees from more than 40 nationalities and is considered the second largest country in the world in terms of hosting refugees compared to its population.

“As part of our corporate social responsibility efforts, Yarmouk University has signed an agreement with UNESCO Amman to cover the tuition fees of 175 Syrian refugees to continue their vocational training diploma,” he noted. 

 

Fawaz Momani, dean of the faculty organising the event, said the conference warns of the danger of forced migration, particularly as developed countries, mainly in Europe, only host 6 per cent of the world’s refugees, while around 86 per cent reside in limited-income countries.

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