Cablegate: Update On Iraqis in Jordan - June 28

DE RUEHAM #2784/01 1791213
P 281213Z JUN 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. AMMAN 2640
B. AMMAN 2564
C. AMMAN 2458

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Jordan will host a neighbors' conference in
July about Iraqi refugees. UNICEF, UNHCR, the USG and NGOs
continue to prepare to assist the GOJ educate Iraqi
schoolchildren in Jordan, but await a GOJ mechanism to
approve and implement them. The Ministry of Education (MoE)
has not yet convened its full Inter-ministerial Steering
Committee on Iraqi Education; Ambassador will encourage
follow-through with Minister of Education Touqan upon his
return to the country on June 30. Several NGOs await PRM
funding decisions on proposals submitted to PRM on June 22.
On the admissions front, the DHS circuit ride ending June 26
interviewed 36 cases, and a longer two-month circuit ride
begins June 27 that targets significantly more case
interviews by August. END SUMMARY.

Jordan to host Iraqi neighbors' conference on refugees
--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. (U) According to June 27 Jordanian press reports (later
confirmed by Foreign Minister Abdelelah Al Khatib to visiting
A/S Welch and Ambassador), Jordan will host a conference in
July for countries hosting Iraqis who have fled Iraq. The
Jordan Times and Petra News Agency reported that the decision
to host the conference was made at a June 25 meeting between
FM Khatib and visiting Iraqi FM Hoshyar Zebari in Amman.
NOTE: Embassy is following up with GOJ contacts regarding the
specific date, intended participants and observers, and will
report information as soon as available. END NOTE.


3. (SBU) UNICEF chaired a donor/NGO coordination meeting on
June 25 to discuss summer readiness programs, surveying
schools, and programs to address psychosocial issues. UNICEF
began referring to these programs as "camps" and offered
recreation kits (with volleyballs, basketballs and jump
ropes) and school-supply kits to any NGO that implements a
summer camp. It remains unclear how many camps will emerge,
and several organizations noted they are awaiting PRM funding
decisions for proposals submitted in June 22. The
International Relief Committee announced its intention to use
independent funds to partner with Questscope for a six-month
extracurricular program with seven community-based
organizations (five in Amman, one in Zarqa, and one in Irbid)
targeted at Iraqi youth aged 10-18. Save the Children (StC)
will launch its PRM-funded "Taleem" program with AMIDEAST for
youths aged 14-24 on July 1.

4. (SBU) As of June 27, the MoE had not convened the proposed
Steering Committee for Iraqi Education. UNICEF Emergency
Coordinator Sharazade Boulia told poloff that the MoE
intended to hold a GOJ-only working group on June 26, though
no international, bilateral, or non-governmental donors were
invited. UNICEF continues to press for an initial meeting of
the complete Steering Committee, but the ministry has yet to
respond. Ambassador will follow up with Minister of
Education Khalid Touqan upon the latter's return to the
country on June 30 to press for rapid convening of the

5. (SBU) Camp, Dresser and McKee (CDM), the USAID contractor
mapping Jordanian schools, completed an initial survey of
schools in Amman, Zarqa and Rusaifa. CDM identified 76
schools in Amman, 24 schools in Rusaifa, and 18 schools in
Zarqa that are single-shifted and not considered overcrowded,
i.e., the average number of students in a classroom is less
than 37. By July 5, they expect to have additional details
on enrollments in each of these areas, and to identify
schools that could be expanded or renovated to accommodate
additional students.

6. (U) Questscope, an NGO that developed non-formal education
(NFE) curricula in Jordan, reported that last week the
Ministry of Education approved its NFE certificate program.
After the completion of the Questscope program, students may
test with the GOJ and receive a certificate indicating
completion of tenth grade studies. Thereafter, they may
enroll in vocational training or pursue home-study to later
test for the Jordanian Tawjihi exams. NOTE: The Ministry of
Education confirmed NGO claims that students that have been
outside of a formal education system for more than three
years are not permitted to re-enter the Jordanian public
school system. Iraqis who lack evidence of previous
educational study may encounter difficulties proving that

AMMAN 00002784 002 OF 002

they have not been out of school for this length of time.

7. (SBU) A UNHCR education representative told poloff that
UNCHR plans to conduct a series of focus groups with Iraqis
the week of July 1 in the areas of education, health,
protection and livelihood. UNHCR expects the focus groups to
include 40 Iraqis and take two days as part of an annual
global UNHCR initiative to assess the impact and equity of
its programs.


8. (SBU) According to TDY REFCOORD, a recent Department of
Homeland Security "circuit ride" completed screening of 36
cases through June 26, representing approximately 70
individuals in total. Of the 32 that had been reviewed by a
team leader, 25 were conditionally approved, three were
denied, three were placed on hold for non-waivable material
support, and one was pending further review. Many of these
cases were emergency cases that had been evacuated from Iraq
for medical treatment.

9. (U) IOM will deploy its Employment Verification Unit on
Sunday, July 1. Iraqis who believe they qualify for
admissions to the U.S. under the Direct Access program can
begin contacting IOM directly to schedule appointments to
assess their eligibility.

10. (SBU) A new team of six DHS interviewers arrived in Amman
on June 26 to begin the next circuit ride that continues
through August 1. IOM has constructed four interview booths
in its new facilities in Amman, and expects that DHS
adjudicators will be able to interview approximately 16 cases
per day or 80 cases per week.

11. (SBU) IOM Chief of Mission Rafiq Tschannen told acting
Polcouns that the GOJ will often waive standard overstay
fines for those Iraqis who have overstayed their visas or
permitted residency periods in Jordan, provided they agree
not to return to Jordan for a period of five years. He noted
that a number of Iraqis who are currently being denied entry
to Jordan are those that have previously overstayed a visa
and departed with a waiver of these fines.

12. (U) Tschannen also said that IOM currently has 400-500
files ready for interview at the IOM offices in Amman. They
currently have capacity to process 50 cases per week. IOM
plans to double its staff and thereby process 140 cases per
week by the end of July. Currently it receives approximately
100 cases/week from UNHCR in Amman.

Visit Amman's Classified Web Site at

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