Creating an Inclusive Refugee Response in Jordan

Written by Lewis Turner (Newcastle University) / February 2024

This policy brief focuses on people seeking international protection in Jordan, which hosts around 750,000 people of concern to UNHCR, on whom this brief focuses. Based on extensive and original ASILE Project research from 2021-2022, it outlines key findings related to two research themes: protection seekers’ status in Jordan, and their right to work. The research found that many protection seekers from Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen experience discrimination by the government, donors, humanitarian actors and Jordanian society, and many cannot even register with UNHCR. Secondly, on the right to work, it found that while there are welcome efforts to facilitate Syrian labour market participation, decent work has been sidelined by the focus on formal targets. These efforts are also problematically focused exclusively on Syrians. This policy brief recommends that all actors push for the adoption of the ‘one refugee approach’ based on needs, rather than nationality. Secondly, it recommends that the Jordan Compact should be amended to focus more on working rights and conditions, and should include all nationalities of protection seekers. Enacting these recommendations, which are offered to the Government of Jordan, the European Union, international donors, and humanitarian actors in Jordan, would help create a more inclusive and fair refugee response, while enhancing protection seekers’ abilities to be self-reliant.