Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

Iraq: Palestinians allowed into Jordan, Iranian Kurds still stuck

Briefing notes

Iraq: Palestinians allowed into Jordan, Iranian Kurds still stuck

22 April 2003

Small numbers of people continue to arrive at Jordan's border with Iraq, where UNHCR and its partner agencies are now caring for more than 1,000 refugees and other desperate residents of Iraq trying to flee the country. They are currently stuck in no man's land between the two countries.

Late Monday, the Jordanian government agreed to admit Palestinians with Jordanian spouses or other close family members of Jordanian nationality. Ninety-four persons were permitted to enter UNHCR's refugee camp at Ruwaished last night. Another group of several dozen Palestinians are expected to be allowed into Jordan later this morning. These are the first residents of UNHCR's camp at Ruwaished: a group of six Iraqis previously admitted to Jordan three weeks ago were permitted to say in the camp for Third Country Nationals, while one person was admitted to hospital.

Jordanian authorities are apparently requiring the mixed Palestinian/Jordanian families to sign waivers indicating that they will return to Iraq once the crisis is over. We are in talks with the government about this, and about the need to keep borders open to all people fleeing Iraq.

Several dozen Iraqi refugees also remain stuck in the no-man's-land separating Jordan and Iraq. Some have been there for more than a week.

The vast majority of the people waiting in no-man's-land are Iranian Kurds who have fled the Al Tash refugee camp over the last week. Before the war, Al Tash sheltered more than 12,000 Iranian Kurdish refugees, most of whom have lived at the camp for as long as 20 years. Fifty-eight other Iranians recognized as refugees by several European and North American countries and Australia also remain in the no-man's-land area.

The Iranian Kurdish refugees, as well as many of the Iraqis and Palestinians waiting at the no-man's-land, said that they fled Iraq due to the chaos and lawlessness that erupted in their communities as the government of Saddam Hussein collapsed.