Address root causes of refugee problem


The Warsaw meeting on the refugee crisis in the Middle East and, indeed, elsewhere in the world ended on a positive note, calling for dealing with the root causes of the problem.

As Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi summed up the challenge to the international community, the “refugee problem” is not going anywhere or disappearing into thin air, neither in the region nor elsewhere in the world, unless the conflicts that caused it are addressed head on and resolved in a fair and just manner.

In retrospect, the refugee crisis worldwide falls into three categories: First is the exodus of people due to war conditions, internal armed conflicts or repression on a wide scale. Second, you have the migrant category that occurs when masses of people cross borders in search for employment and a better standard of living. Third, you have the asylum group of people, who individually exercise it when they face oppression and denial of basic human rights in their country of origin. The three-dimensional crisis requires separate treatments.

Here in Jordan, we have the Palestinian refugee problem that dates back to the 1947-1948 era, when Israel was created and the Palestinians, the original inhabitants of the country, were forcibly driven out of their homeland in Palestine to make room for new waves of Jewish people, with the purpose of depopulating the country of its Palestinian people and have it populated by Jewish people from the four corners of the world.

Jordan also has the Syrian refugee problem that dates back to 2011, when Syrian people started fleeing their county in search for safety and security.

The message and the solution to all these problems is simple and straightforward: Address the root causes that drove people away from their homes in the first place, then the solution will become within reach.

The future of the Palestinian refugees faces a grave danger after international support to UNRWA started to dwindle. US President Donald Trump started this anti-UNRWA campaign by withholding the regular US contributions to the UN agency.

International support to Jordan, in the wake of the arrival of over a million Syrian refugees into the country, has also decreased. The Warsaw meeting should have renewed the call for real and factual support to Jordan to maintain the Syrian refugees, and to UNRWA to enable it to maintain its support to the 5 million Palestinian refugees.


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