The ongoing conflict in Syria remains one of the largest displacement crises. The scale of the humanitarian emergency has worsened as the country has moved through eight years of war. Host countries, like Jordan, are struggling to maintain social and economic stability; over 85% of Syrians live below the national poverty line.
As of June 2019, a total of 753,376 refugees are registered with UNHCR Jordan. Over 87% are of Syrian nationality. While 16% of Syrians are registered in the camps, most of the Syrian refugees live in urban areas. Over 80% of out-of-camp refugees remain below the national poverty line of ($100) per capita per month.
Despite the growing needs, potential cuts to services due to lack of funding as well as shrinking resettlement options result in additional pressure on key services, such as cash assistance, education and health. Those residing in the camps of Zaatari, Azraq and the Emirati Jordanian camp receive multi-sectoral assistance from a variety of agencies. However, the potential for diminished funding over time however threatens the maintenance of minimum standards across key sectors in the medium term. The Kingdom is also home to 56 other nationalities of refugees, predominantly from Iraq, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. all of whom live in urban areas.
UNHCR’s operation in Jordan is complex, dynamic and innovative. The operation moves at high speed and requires regular adaptability and flexibility. In the camps, UNHCR is involved in a range of activities and services, including camp coordination, community-based and protection, outreach, Child protection and SGBV, livelihoods, shelter and energy. In urban areas, refugees also receive monthly cash assistance, with UNHCR Jordan maintaining one of the largest and most innovative cash-based intervention programmes, as well as access to healthcare, community support & protection activities in collaboration with the Government of Jordan. Overall, the operation is large and still maintains a high degree of visibility, thus it still experiences an extremely high number of visitors, including over 250 high level visits in 2018 alone, including increasing interest from the Gulf and private sector.
Children constitute over half of the refugee population in Jordan. Main Child protection concerns include abuse and neglect as well as child labour, child marriage, family separation and emotional distress resulting from challenging and unstable living conditions, lack of hope and limited durable solutions. Unaccompanied or separated children as well as those children facing serious protection risks are therefore in need of quality case management services and effective and efficient identification of solutions.
In 2018, Child Protection Case Management agencies coordinated under the CPIMS Task Force, services over 7,500 children with comprehensive, quality Child Protection case management services. Given the protracted situations in most of the refugee producing countries of the population of concerns to UNHCR in Jordan, children and their families are facing serious protection concerns, including SGBV and limited prospects of return. Challenging gender norms and cultural traditions result in widespread corporal punishment of children and high numbers of SGBV concerns including child marriages.
Given UNHCR’s mandate on refugee protection, the Child Protection Unit within UNHCR plays a critical role in ensuring quality Child Protection Case Management services and capacity building of partners and key national stakeholders.