Partners in Creating the Future
World Refugee Day - June 20, 2024
World Refugee Day - June 20, 2024
Saturday, 22 June 2024


World Refugee Day - June 20, 2024

The number of refugees in Jordan continues to increase because the percentage of young people and the rates of early marriage and childbearing are high among refugees.


On June 20 of every year, the world celebrates a day that highlights the strength and courage of people forced to flee their homelands to escape conflict or persecution

 Every year, June 20th marks World Refugee Day, a global day designated by the United Nations in honour of refugees around the world. This day highlights the courage of people forced to flee their homelands to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is also an occasion to mobilize support for host countries, provide sympathy and understanding for their plight, and acknowledge their determination to rebuild their lives.

The 1951 Global Convention on refugees defines a refugee as ‘someone who owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of [his/ her] nationality and who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of [their] former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to the country of [his/ her] nationality[1][2]."

The 1951 Convention contained a set of rights for refugees, including:

  • The right not to be expelled, except under certain, strictly defined conditions and except in implementation of a decision taken in accordance with the procedural principles stipulated by the law, provided that refugees are given the right to object
  • The right not to be punished for irregular entry: states do not impose criminal penalties on refugees due to their entry or presence in their territory without permission;
  • Right to decent work;
  • Right to housing, land and property, including intellectual property
  • The right to education;
  • The right to receive what is granted in the field of public relief and assistance;
  • The right to practice religious rituals;
  • The right to access to justice and the right to free litigation before the courts
  • The right to freedom of movement within the territory                                            
  • The right to be issued civil, identity and travel documents;
  • The right to social protection of refugees has become the core mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which was established with the aim of caring for refugees.

In December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly approved the Global Compact on Refugees. The Charter provides a plan for governments, international organizations and other stakeholders to ensure that host communities receive the necessary support they need and that refugees enjoy fruitful lives to the benefit of both refugees and the communities hosting them.[3]

The demographic impact of refugees in Jordan:

  • Refugees have contributed to the doubling of Jordan’s population in the last two decades

Syrians seeking asylum in Jordan in the second decade of this century has added obvious and discernible demographic, social, economic, environmental, security and information burdens added to the heavy burdens resulting from supporting a high percentage of young Jordanians and non-Jordanians already living there. Population growth in Jordan usually occurs primarily with an increase in the number of n new-born children each year; the last decade, though, was exceptional. The population increased by four million in 11 years, between the years of the last two censuses (2004 and 2015) at a high and unprecedented annual growth rate3 of 4.9%. The influx of refugees from Syria played a role in that increase, as the number of people holding the Syrian nationality, according to the latest Population and Housing Census, was 1.27 million people. Childbirth also contributed to the rapid population increase that Jordan has witnessed. The Department of Civil Status and Passports recorded about 2.7 million births between 2010-2022, at an average of one million births every five years. On the whole, more than 6 million people were added to the population of Jordan in less than twenty years (2004-2023); this indicates that the population has doubled in two decades since 2004. The number of non-Jordanians increased by 2.5 million people during the period between the last two censuses, and the percentage of non-Jordanians also increased from about 8% to 31 %, with an unprecedented annual growth rate of 18%. Most of this growth is due to Syrian refugees in the four years preceding the last census in 20154, as Syrians constitute 43% of the total number of non-Jordanians, followed by Egyptians (21.8%), Palestinians (21.7%), Iraqis ( 4.5%), and other nationalities (about 9%).

In Jordan, UNHCR data indicate that the number of the commission’s registered refugees up to April 30, 2024 amounted to about 706,100 refugees, the largest percentage of whom were Syrians at 89.9% of a total of  634,728 refugees5). As for distribution of refugees according to age, children under 17 years old constituted 46% of the total refugees. The number of Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA was more than two million refugees (2,206,736), which is the largest number of refugees from Palestine in all the regions where UNRWA6 operates.

  • The percentage of young people and the rates of early marriage and childbearing are high among refugees

Although the influx of Syrians to Jordan has stopped and the fact that a small, insignificant number of them has returned to Syria, this does not necessarily mean a decline in the number of Syrians and other non-Jordanians currently residing in Jordan.  Rather, their numbers are constantly increasing due to the high rates of childbirth and marriage among them. Birth rates among Syrians are much higher than those among Jordanians. According to results of the 2023 Population and Family Health Survey, the complete childbearing rate for Syrian women in the age group 40-49 years is 4.5 children compared to 3.7 children for Jordanian women. This means that the number of refugees throughout all governorates in the Kingdom has been at a steady increase since their arrival in Jordan.

Data from Chief of Justice Department annual reports show the rates of marriage of those under 18 out of the total number of marriage contracts for females who married for the first time, according to the nationality of the bride. Statistics indicate that this type of marriage is in decline (see the table below). and this is due to efforts exerted by concerned authorities to implement the National Action Plan to limit the marriage of those under eighteen in Jordan. Yet, the  marriage of young girls is still quite prevalent and very high amongst Syrian refugees (38% compared to 10% among Jordanians according to the latest source).

[3] [3] تم حساب معدلات النمو السكاني السنوي بين التعدادين السكانيين الأخيرين ولفترة ما بعد التعداد الأخير والواردة هنا وفق معادلة التغير الأسي التي تأخذ الصورة التالية: Pt=Poert

4المصدر: نتائج التعداد العام للسكان والمساكن لعامي 2004، 2015



Refugees and challenges facing development in Jordan

Jordan has been striving to achieve sustainable, economic, social and environmental development. Despite these continuous efforts, the country is still encountered with challenges due to the huge pressures it faces on infrastructure and services, exposure of the economy to shockwaves due to ongoing conflicts in the region and the resulting influx of large numbers of refugees across its borders, in addition to the decline in economic growth rates. The treasury in Jordan has borne the repercussions of Syrian asylum seekers in light of the significant decline in international aid pledged to the Jordanian Response Plan to the Syrian Crisis, which did not exceed 29% of the financial needs required for the year 2023. In accordance with the principle of ‘leaving no one behind,’ Jordan provides Syrians with access to basic services such as education and health and expansion of granting work permits to Syrians (in 2022 alone, 62,457 work permits were issued to Syrians 7). [1]

In the field of providing health services, Jordan, in cooperation with civil society organizations service providers, is keen to strengthen health programs, reproductive health services in particular, to reach refugees in all areas of their residence.

 As the Syrian crisis goes into its thirteenth year, Jordan affirms it continues to provide services to refugees, as it also affirms its commitment to supporting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in Jordan (UNRWA). Jordan looks for the support of the international community to enable it to deal with the challenges resulting from conflicts in the region and to continue performing its duties and role as a core element of security and stability in the region.

It is noteworthy that the Global Refugee Forum 2023, held in December in Geneva, Switzerland with the attendance of representatives from Colombia, France, Japan, Jordan and Uganda, is the world’s largest international gathering on refugees. The assemblage aims to support putting into practice the goals as stipulated in the Global Compact on Refugees GCR, which are:

  1. alleviating pressures on host countries
  2. strengthening refugees’ self-reliance
  3. expanding access to third country solutions
  4. supporting conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.

The Forum witnessed more than 1,600 external pledges to support refugees and their host communities, including 43 multilateral pledges led by governments. New financial commitments estimated at approximately $2.2 billion were announced by countries and other actors8. The eighth Brussels conference held in May and organized by the European Union 2024 on supporting the future of Syria and the region, also included collecting financial pledges worth 7.5 billion euros to support displaced Syrians in their country as well as refugees in neighbouring countries in the region. However, pledges at the conference need to be interpreted into actual financing commitments including what contributes to covering the priorities identified within the context of the Jordanian Response Plan to the Syrian Crisis, especially in light of the dwindling support due to other global crises.

7وزارة العمل، مؤشرات سوق العمل الوطنية 2018-2022.