As of October 2013, over 9,000 Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) had sought support from UNRWA in Jordan. The vast majority of these refugees live in communities with host families or in rental premises. A small group of those who entered early in the conflict, approximately 200 individuals, are held in 'Cyber City', a government facility in Ramtha, along with approximately 200 Syrian refugees.
The number of Palestine refugees displaced from Syria who have sought services by registering with UNRWA in Jordan more than doubled in the first quarter of 2013. Through the emergency response programme, UNRWA provides them with relief and social and protection services. They also access UNRWA education and health services, straining the existing capacities of the Agency as the numbers grow.
By the time PRS in Jordan register with UNRWA, they have exhausted their support mechanisms and are in dire need of assistance. Their most critical needs are for shelter, food and non-food items. UNRWA works to provide these vulnerable refugees with relief and social and protection services. They also access UNRWA education and health services, straining the existing capacities of the Agency as the numbers grow. As of October 2013, nearly 1,000 PRS children had enrolled in UNRWA schools in Jordan, and UNRWA health centres had provided 12,598 free consultations to PRS patients since the beginning of the year.
The Government of Jordan announced a policy of non-entry to Palestinians fleeing the Syria conflict in early 2013. This stemmed the flow of Palestine refugees from Syria towards Jordan and compounded the extreme vulnerability of Palestinians seeking safety in Syria, as well as that of those who managed to enter Jordan.
The irregular status of PRS in Jordan means they endure a considerable degree of insecurity. They face difficulties in civil processes such as registration of births and in access to government services, and are at constant risk of refoulement. The development of negative coping mechanisms among refugees is also a risk, and we are working to better identify and refer cases of gender-based violence and other serious issues.
Protection remains a priority for us in Jordan. UNRWA has strengthened its capacity to monitor and respond to protection issues affecting Palestine refugees from Syria and will continue to appeal to the Government of Jordan to uphold the international legal principles of non-refoulement and equal treatment of refugees.