While Jordan has accommodated more than 350,000 refugees since the start of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, it is routinely and unlawfully rejecting Palestinian refugees, single men, and undocumented people seeking asylum at its border with Syria, according to Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic and Human Rights Watch.
On March 21, the day before President Obama was scheduled to visit to Jordan, the International Human Rights Clinic and Human Rights Watch issued a joint press release calling on the president to use his visit to Jordan as an opportunity to urge the Jordanian government to stop returning asylum seekers to Syria.
Based in part on the clinic’s field research conducted in Jordan and Lebanon over January term, the extended press release documents the difficulties faced by asylum seekers in these categories as they attempt to flee the fighting in Syria.
In two separate trips to Jordan and Lebanon, in January and February, Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Clinic conducted in-depth interviews with more than 120 Syrian and Palestinian refugees from Syria. They documented that, as a matter of policy, Jordan is turning back people from Syria at its border without adequately considering the risk to them. Such a policy violates the international law principle of nonrefoulement, which forbids governments from returning refugees and asylum seekers to places where their lives or freedom would be threatened.
Read the release here.