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Assistant High Commissioner in Jordan

Briefing notes

Assistant High Commissioner in Jordan

17 February 2004

Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees Kamel Morjane is visiting Jordan's Ruweished refugee camp today, which houses some 400 refugees. Another 1,200 refugees are in a nearby makeshift site in no-man's land. UNHCR is working to find a solution for the refugees in the two camps, particularly more than 400 Palestinians, many of whom would like to go on to other countries in the region since fleeing Iraq last year.

Earlier this week, together with Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration, UNHCR held a planning meeting in Amman on refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Iraq. The meeting was co-chaired by Mohammed Jassim Khudhayir al-Otbee, Minister of Displacement and Migration and Assistant High Commissioner Morjane. Some 70 participants examined ways to implement an Iraqi-led strategy for the protection, care and assistance of refugees, returnees and displaced persons. Intensive brainstorming sessions were conducted during the two-day meeting on issues such as assistance needs, capacity-building, coordination and property rights and housing requirements.

The Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration is responsible for all matters pertaining to refugees and displaced persons in Iraq, including their repatriation, relocation, resettlement and reintegration. It is also responsible for the policies and programmes relating to all non-Iraqi refugees residing in the country. In discussions this week, Minister Mohammed Jassim Khudhayir al-Otbee stressed the enormous task facing Iraq and his ministry's need for guidance, assistance, capacity-building, as well as financial and material support.

Over the last six months, more than 6,800 refugees have repatriated to Iraq from Saudi Arabia and Iran on convoys facilitated by UNHCR.

During his mission, Mr. Morjane also met with senior officials of Jordan's Interior and Foreign Affairs Ministries, Deputy Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, Karen Koning Abu-Zayd, and the Secretary-General's Acting Special Representative for Iraq, Ross Mountain.