Cablegate: In Absence of Iraqi Embassy, Iraqis in Jordan Seek
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS AMMAN 003455
DEPT FOR NEA/NGA AND PRM, CENTCOM FOR POLAD
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PREF IZ JO
SUBJECT: IN ABSENCE OF IRAQI EMBASSY, IRAQIS IN JORDAN SEEK
ASSISTANCE FROM US EMBASSY
REF: CPA BAGHDAD 041713Z JUN 03
1. This is an action request; see para 4.
2. Embassy Amman's front gate receptionist reports that 10
to 15 Iraqi nationals per day are approaching the embassy to
seek assistance, primarily on Iraqi citizen service issues.
The Iraqis explain that without a functioning Iraqi embassy
in Amman, they have nowhere to turn on issues such as
residency permits, permission to leave Jordan after having
overstayed their legal residency, and commercial disputes.
The Iraqis claim that the Iraqi embassy routinely intervened
with the GOJ on their behalf to resolve these issues. The
Iraqis add that they are afraid to approach GOJ authorities
on their own, as most are here illegally and fear that they
will be jailed or deported if they make their presence known
to the GOJ. In one typical case, an Iraqi national reported
to the receptionist that he has not been paid by his employer
in six months and needs help in obtaining his back wages.
This Iraqi reportedly wants to leave Jordan to return to Iraq
but, without his wages, cannot afford either the fine for his
illegal overstay or the costs of traveling to Iraq and
reestablishing his life there. (NOTE: Fully half of the
250,000 to 300,000 Iraqis resident in Jordan are believed to
be here illegally. As most illegal Iraqis are employed as
casual laborers, they cannot afford to pay the fines required
in order to leave the country legally. Those who cannot
afford to pay the fines are deported and "blacklisted," their
names entered on a watch list and prevented from entering
Jordan again. The GOJ reportedly has decided that fines will
not be levied upon Iraqis returning to Iraq; we will seek
confirmation and report septel.)
3. The front gate receptionist reports that a handful of
Iraqis first began approaching the embassy for assistance in
March but that the steady flow only began in the last few
weeks. Since May 14, the Iraqi embassy has been shuttered,
with a sign beside the door announcing that the embassy is
closed and no longer able to provide services to Iraqi
citizens. When conoff phoned the Iraqi embassy on June 10,
an Iraqi diplomat answered the phone and said that the
embassy was open only for humanitarian emergencies.
4. Action request: Absent any specific instructions from
the Department on this issue, we are informing Iraqi
nationals that the US Embassy is unable to provide assistance
to Iraqi nationals and suggesting that they turn to local
NGOs that assist refugees and those living in refugee-like
conditions. We recommend that the Coalition Provisional
Authority send the Iraqi MFA inspection team to Amman as soon
as possible (ref), as -- in the absence of a functioning
Iraqi Embassy -- the number of Iraqis seeking assistance at
the US embassy is likely to grow.
5. CPA Baghdad minimize considered.