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UNHCR marks World Refugee Day with call for greater support to refugees


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Marking World Refugee Day, observed annually on June 21, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi called for greater global solidarity, action and support for refugees, the internally displaced, stateless people and host countries.
“On World Refugee Day, I salute and celebrate the fortitude of refugees and displaced people around the world. I also pay tribute to the communities that shelter them and that have demonstrated the universally shared values and principles of compassion and humanity,” Grandi said in a statement posted on the UNHCR website.
“We are marking this year’s World Refugee Day against a backdrop of a dramatic global crisis. Not only are record numbers of people forced to flee their homes, but the world is grappling with COVID-19, a disease that is still very much affecting us all. What started as a health crisis has expanded, and today many of the most vulnerable — refugees and the displaced amongst them — face a pandemic of poverty,” he said in the statement.
“However, throughout this unprecedented time, we have also seen a connectedness that transcends borders. Refugees themselves are contributing in significant ways, despite often living in challenging circumstances,” he said.
Grandi noted that it is “crucial” for countries to include refugees and displaced persons in their socio-economic responses to the ongoing pandemic.  
According to a recently published UNDP report on COVID-19 and human development, the current crisis has severely impacted “all of human development’s constitutive elements” including income health and education, in addition to less visible indirect effects, including increased domestic violence.
“The pandemic was superimposed on unresolved tensions between people and technology, between people and the planet, between the haves and the have-nots. These tensions were already shaping a new generation of inequalities,” the report said, adding that the response to the crisis “can shape how those hardships are addressed and whether inequalities in human development are reduced”.
In a statement on the occasion of World Refugee Day, the Higher Population Council (HPC) noted that Jordan aims to meet the needs of refugees in the Kingdom by strengthening the abilities of national institutions and organisations to provide services.
HPC Secretary General Abla Amawi said that the celebration of the day is “an opportunity to review the challenges and concerns faced by refugees”, adding that UNHCR figures show that Jordan hosts a total of 747,875 refugees, the second highest number of refugees per capita globally. Of these refugees, 87.9 per cent are Syrian and 9 per cent Iraqi, followed by Yemeni, Sudanese and Somali refugees and refugees of other nationalities.
Currently, 657,287 Syrian refugees are registered in the Kingdom, according to UNHCR Jordan’s official website.
The UNHCR Global Trends report shows that refugees across Jordan are increasingly finding themselves living in poverty, particularly as a result of the recent coronavirus crisis. 
Before the pandemic hit, 79 per cent of refugees in Jordan were already living below the poverty line, but recent surveys indicate that this proportion has now increased. Only 35 per cent of refugees in Jordan said that they had a job to return to as curfews put in place to respond to the COVID 19 pandemic have started to lift, according to the UNHCR.

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