Escaping from war to end up in prison. This is the fate of many Iraqis in Jordan, at least according to the non governmental organization Human Rights Watch, which fights for the respect of human rights: in a report it accuses the Amman government of discriminating refugees who come from Iraq.
From refugee to criminal. Since the beginning of the war in Iraq, in 2003, the number of Iraqis who fled from their country, in flames, torn apart by the conflict between rebels and forces of occupation and by the interreligious fight between Sunnites and Shiites, is about one million. Many of them took refuge in Jordan. But after a first period of warm welcome, also due to the work of a series of ongs, the wind changed and, as Hrw denounces, Iraqis, by Jordan law, from refugees turned into illegal immigrants. The Hrw investigation, a document of 110 pages, denounces arbitrary arrests and forced expulsions which, according to the US ong, represent a veritable mass deportation: even more serious because the Iraqis are deported into a Country torn apart by war, where they are exposed to violence of every kind.
Fleeing again. When the war started, the Amman government had granted a series of turistic visas to escaping Iraqis so as to deal with the droves of refugees pressing on the borders of Jordan, pending a more stable solution. But in time, according to the Jordan authorities, the situation became unsustainable for a small Country, and, instead of the longed for residence permit as political refugees, expulsion warrants started raining down. The president of the United States George W. Bush, in the last summit with the Jordan king Adballah II, at the end of last month, asked for the rights of the Iraqi refugees to be respected, but the Amman government does not seem to be able to deal with a humanitarian crisis of this magnitude without substantial help, since we are speaking of almost 500 thousand people.
Security obsession. The Hrw report sets the turning point of the Jordan government’s attitude towards Iraqi refugees at November last, when the treble attack that hit three big hotels in Amman took place, killing 57 people and wounding 300. The four suicide attackers were Iraqi and they had entered Jordan by pretending to be refugees. From that moment on, fearing internal destabilization, the Jordan authorities started not renewing the residence permits and did not grant any new ones. Hrw collected the stories of many Iraqi refugees who, before the attacks in Amman, had started a new life in Jordan, finding a home and a job. Many of them were driven out, losing everything once more, and found themselves back in the hell they had fled from.