Iraq refugees in ‘no man’s land’

People fleeing the unending violence reach the border in search of a safe haven.

Most refugees are turned away at the Jordanian-Iraqi border
Most refugees are turned away at the Jordanian-Iraqi border
The Jordanians have an advanced scanning system – vehicles are passed through huge scanners, people’s belonging are scanned and dogs sniff their bags.
The sound of violence echoes from across the border.
We heard gunshots the whole time we were there, coming from an American training base close by on the Iraqi side.
But not everyone is this lucky – most are turned away on the spot.
Others have been waiting to get in for years.
‘No law, no rights’
Accompanied by Jordanian authorities, we were not allowed to speak to any refugees.

“In the No mans camp, it is basically no law, no rights, no protection, no humanitarian assistance”


Bill Frelick,
Human Rights Watch

However, we

did find out that they are Kurds from Iran who lived in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Effectively stateless, they got stuck at this border.
Bill Frelick, of Human Rights Watch, said: “In the No Man’s Land camp, it is basically no law, no rights, no protection, no humanitarian assistance.
“They are essentially left to beg from the truck drivers that are waiting to make the crossing between the two countries to get handouts.”
These refugees turned down the UN’s offer to relocate them on the Kurdish part of Iraq.
They insist on being resettled in a Western country.
Ruwaished camp
An hour’s drive away, there is another group of people stuck in another camp: Al Ruwaished.
It used to be home to close to a 1,000 refugees from Iraq.
Most have been resettled but a handful of families – almost all Palestinian – are still there.
Rejected by Jordan, fearing persecution in Iraq, and blocked by Israel from going to Gaza, these people have been all but forgotten.

Refugees have been born,  got engaged and
married, and died at Ruwaished camp
Some have been born here, and others have died.

Ann-Marie Deutschlander, senior protection officer for the UN refugee agency in Iraq, said: “Far from ideal, it was set up by the government in order to be as far away as possible [and] as close to Iraqi border.
“It’s hot in the summer, it’s in the middle of the desert, it’s not a nice place to live.”

The UN says it has “tried everything to relocate them” – approaching traditional relocation countries, and some non-traditional countries.
But promises offer them little comfort. Behind the fence lie a people stuck in limbo.

Source: Al Jazeera

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