ACN Video News: Wednesday, 27th June 2012 – JORDAN/IRAQ
Iraq: Without My Country - the plight of Iraqi refugees in Amman, Jordan
On December 4, 2000 the United Nations General Assembly dedicated June 20th as World Refugee Day. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon upon the declaration stated: "No one wants to become a refugee. No one should have to endure this humiliating and arduous ordeal. Yet, millions do. Even one refugee forced to flee, one refugee forced to return to danger is one too many".
The ancient city of Amman, capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, clings to 19 rolling hills. Amman is Jordan's political, cultural and commercial centre. The city has also become a safe haven for an estimated 500,000 Iraqi refugees, fleeing violence and economic strife in their homeland after the 2003 invasion.
Many of these are Christians fleeing religious persecution from Muslim extremists. Because Jordan is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, Iraqis living here are defined as guests. This means that Iraqis do not have a clear legal status or the right to work. They are not entitled to health care and their children cannot go to public schools. Often this uncertain status drags out for years as they wait for potential countries of resettlement to respond to their application. They also live in fear - that of being sent back to Iraq. To be sent back, in many cases, is a return to threats, kidnappings and even death.
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