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Cablegate: A Snapshot of the Iraqi Community in Jordan - Some

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 001629

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR PRM AND NEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PREL EAID IZ JO
SUBJECT: A SNAPSHOT OF THE IRAQI COMMUNITY IN JORDAN - SOME
OF THE POOREST OF THE POOR

REF: AMMAN 1587

1. (U) AS PART OF ROUTINE REFCOORD MONITORING OF PRM-FUNDED
ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS FOR VULNERABLE IRAQIS IN JORDAN
(MONITORING REPORT SUBMITTED REFTEL), FSN REFUGEE ASSISTANT
VISITED THE HOMES OF THREE VULNERABLE IRAQI FAMILIES LIVING
IN JORDAN, ALL OF WHOM HAD OBTAINED OR WERE SEEKING
ASSISTANCE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC MIGRATION
COMMISSION (ICMC)'S USG-FUNDED PROJECT. THE FAMILIES LIVE
IN HASHMI SHAMALI AND JABAL AL-NASR, POOR NEIGHBORHOODS IN
AMMAN THAT ARE HOME TO LARGE NUMBERS OF IRAQIS. BASED ON
THESE HOME VISITS, IT APPEARS THAT THE LIVING CONDITIONS OF
VULNERABLE IRAQIS IN JORDAN DO NOT DIFFER WIDELY FROM OTHER
ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED GROUPS, SUCH AS PALESTINIAN
REFUGEES WHO QUALIFY FOR UNRWA SPECIAL HARDSHIP STATUS OR
IMPOVERISHED JORDANIANS IN SOUTHERN JORDAN. THE IRAQIS'
GREATEST HARDSHIP SEEMS TO COME FROM THEIR ILLEGAL STATUS IN
JORDAN, WHICH PREVENTS THEM FROM ACCESSING GOJ PUBLIC
SERVICES, PARTICULARLY IN HEALTH AND EDUCATION.

2. (SBU) WHILE THE REASONS FOR THEIR PRESENCE IN JORDAN
VARY, THESE IRAQIS SHARE THE SAME DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES:
LARGELY ILLEGAL STATUS, LIMITED ACCESS TO EDUCATION AND
HEALTH CARE, LIMITED EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES, SUBSTANDARD
HOUSING AND CONSTANT FEAR OF REPRISAL FROM THE IRAQI
GOVERNMENT AND/OR DEPORTATION BY THE JORDANIAN GOVERNMENT.
THE UNHCR-RECOGNIZED REFUGEES HOPE TO LEAVE JORDAN QUICKLY,
TO BEGIN LIFE IN A THIRD COUNTRY. THOSE IRAQIS RESIDENT IN
JORDAN WITHOUT UNHCR STATUS FACE AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE AND
MANY REPORT THAT THEY MAY RESORT TO ILLEGAL SMUGGLING TO
FIND JOBS IN EUROPE. ALL THE IRAQIS INTERVIEWED EXPRESSED A
GREAT DEAL OF ANXIETY CONCERNING POSSIBLE HOSTILITIES IN
IRAQ - PARTICULARLY FOR THE SAFETY OF FAMILY MEMBERS
REMAINING INSIDE IRAQ. THEY ALSO EXPRESSED THEIR FEAR AND
DISLIKE OF THE CURRENT IRAQI GOVERNMENT. SKETCHES OF THEIR
INDIVIDUAL STORIES FOLLOW.


3. (SBU) THE RECENT ARRIVALS: A LOOSE FAMILY GROUPING -
FATALLY ILL DAUGHTER, TWO GRANDPARENTS AND AN UNCLE - CAME
TO JORDAN ONE MONTH AGO IN SEARCH OF MEDICAL TREATMENT. THE
GIRL'S FATHER WAS GIVEN PERMISSION BY THE IRAQI AND
JORDANIAN GOVERNMENTS TO REMAIN IN JORDAN FOR FOUR DAYS
ONLY, AND LEFT HIS DAUGHTER IN THE CARE OF THE OTHER ADULT
FAMILY MEMBERS. THE GIRL'S UNCLE REPORTEDLY QUIT THE IRAQI
ARMY WITHOUT PERMISSION; HE AND HIS PARENTS FEAR PUNISHMENT
IF THEY RETURN TO IRAQ. THIS FAMILY, LIKE MANY OTHER
DIVIDED FAMILIES, DID NOT SEEK UNHCR ASSISTANCE AS ASYLUM-
SEEKERS BECAUSE THEY FEAR RETRIBUTION FOR THEIR FAMILY
MEMBERS STILL LIVING IN IRAQ. THE IRAQI COMMUNITY IN JORDAN
WIDELY BELIEVES THAT UNHCR OFFICES ARE WATCHED CLOSELY BY
IRAQI INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS, WHO ALLEGEDLY REPORT ALL ASYLUM
SEEKERS TO BAGHDAD, WITH REPERCUSSIONS FOR FAMILY MEMBERS
REMAINING INSIDE IRAQ. THE FAMILY SOUGHT ICMC'S HELP IN
OBTAINING MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR THE GIRL, WHO WAS
SUBSEQUENTLY DIAGNOSED WITH CYSTIC FIBROSIS. WHILE ICMC HAS
PROVIDED MEDICAL TREATMENT UNDER THE USG GRANT, IT IS ABLE
TO PROVIDE LITTLE MORE THAN THAT. THE FAMILY WILL RUN OUT
OF SAVINGS IN TWO MONTHS AND HAS NO OTHER MEANS OF SUPPORT.
AS ILLEGAL RESIDENTS, THEIR WORK OPPORTUNITIES ARE EXTREMELY
LIMITED.

4. (SBU) THE UNHCR CASE: A SHI'A FEMALE-HEADED HOUSEHOLD
WITH FIVE CHILDREN, THIS FAMILY ARRIVED IN JORDAN IN JANUARY
2000 AND RECEIVED UNHCR REFUGEE STATUS IN 2002. THE FEMALE
HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD REPORTS THAT HER HUSBAND WAS FORCED TO
REJOIN THE IRAQI ARMY AFTER HE HAD ALREADY FINISHED HIS
COMPULSORY SERVICE. THE WOMAN KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT HER
HUSBAND'S WHEREABOUTS AND BELIEVES HER BROTHER-IN-LAW MIGHT
HAVE BEEN EXECUTED AS PUNISHMENT AFTER HER HUSBAND FLED THE
ARMY. THE FAMILY IS ENTIRELY DEPENDENT ON UNHCR ASSISTANCE
TO COVER THEIR HOUSING COSTS AND ON OCCASIONAL CHARITY AND
SUPPORT TO PURCHASE FOOD. THE FAMILY REPORTS THAT THEY WERE
HARASSED BY THE JORDANIAN COMMUNITY IN THE THEIR PREVIOUS
RESIDENCE IN JABAL AL-NASR, WHEN THEIR DISABLED 17-YEAR OLD
CHILD WAS BEATEN BY NEIGHBORHOOD CHILDREN, THE MOTHER WAS
SUBSEQUENTLY THREATENED BY THE PERPETRATORS' FAMILIES AND
THE JORDANIAN POLICE FINALLY ADVISED THE FAMILY TO MOVE.
WITH HOPES OF ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM UNHCR,
THE FAMILY MOVED TO A NEW APARTMENT IN JEBEL EL WEBDEH, A
SAFER AND MORE EXPENSIVE NEIGHBORHOOD. THIS FAMILY RECENTLY
TOOK IN ANOTHER IRAQI FAMILY - A SINGLE MOTHER AND FOUR
CHILDREN - LEAVING A TOTAL OF ELEVEN PEOPLE LIVING IN A 75-
SQUARE METER (ROUGHLY 675 SQUARE FEET) APARTMENT. THE
FEMALE HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD HAS STARTED CLEANING HOUSES IN THE
NEIGHBORHOOD, BUT HER EARNINGS ARE NOT ENOUGH TO SUPPORT HER
FAMILY. THE FAMILY SEEKS ICMC ASSISTANCE IN OBTAINING
MEDICAL CARE FOR THE 17 YEAR-OLD DISABLED CHILD.

5. (SBU) THE ECONOMIC MIGRANTS: A FIVE-PERSON MUSLIM
FAMILY HAS BEEN LIVING IN JORDAN ILLEGALLY FOR FIVE YEARS,
HAVING LEFT IRAQ FOR ECONOMIC REASONS. THE MALE HEAD OF
HOUSEHOLD WORKS AS AN ILLEGAL DAY LABORER, TRAVELING
CONSTANTLY AROUND JORDAN LOOKING FOR WORK AND LIVING ON
BELOW-STANDARD WAGES. THE JORDANIAN GOVERNMENT ALLOWED THE
CHILDREN TO BE REGISTERED AT PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR HUMANITARIAN
REASONS BUT DOES NOT PERMIT THE FAMILY TO USE GOJ HEALTH
FACILITIES. ONE OF THE CHILDREN IS SUFFERING FROM A SERIOUS
BLOOD DISEASE AND MOST OF THE TIME IS UNABLE TO ATTEND
SCHOOL. THE FAMILY DOES NOT KNOW HOW LONG THEY WILL BE ABLE
TO STAY IN JORDAN AND APPARENTLY HAS NO MEANS TO GO BACK TO
IRAQ. THE FAMILY SEEKS ICMC ASSISTANCE IN OBTAINING MEDICAL
TREATMENT FOR THE ILL CHILD.
GNEHM

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