UN neglecting thousands of Iraqi Christian refugees in Jordan, rights activist warns

The United Nations is neglecting the efforts made by thousands of Iraqi Christians who were able to escape the Islamic State's atrocities and sought shelter in Jordan to achieve refugee status, according to an Assyrian Christian human rights activist.

(REUTERS / Muhammad Hamed)Syrian refugee children play at Azraq refugee camp for Syrians displaced by conflict, near Al Azraq city, Jordan, September 9, 2016.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Philos Project research fellow and Iraqi Christian Relief Council founder Juliana Taimoorazy talked about the progress made in helping displaced Iraqi Christians find their way back to their hometowns. She made her comments after she and her colleagues traveled to Jordan early January to see for themselves the real situation of the Christian refugees who fled from ISIS in 2014.

"They are completely neglected by the UNHCR — completely," Taimoorazy told the Post.

"They actually live in poor neighborhoods in suburbs of Amman. There were three families that we met that were living in a three-bedroom apartment," Taimoorazy observed. "There is no privacy. They complain that aid does not get to them. Different charity organizations come but they don't bring enough aid. UNHCR has not granted a majority of them refugee status as of yet."

Taimoorazy received information that there were around 25,000 Iraqi Christian refugees in Jordan in 2015. While about 10,000 have already been relocated to other countries, there are still 15,000 who have not heard from the UNHCR regarding the progress of their refugee applications.

According to Taimoorazy, the Christian refugees see their Muslim counterparts making their way in and out of the country. Her group thinks the UNHCR does not want to be thought of as favoring Christian refugees or giving them special treatment, but Taimoorazy said they just want the refugees' paperwork to be processed on time.

In an article on the Providence Mag, Alexander W. Titus highlighted the unsafe environment for Syrian Christians in U.N. refugee camps and the limbo that Iraqi Christians' refugee applications are currently in. He then called on the Trump administration to pressure the U.N. into taking concrete steps to help the persecuted believers.

Titus suggested that displaced Iraqi Christians be granted an expedited refugee status. He also said the U.N. should establish refugee camps exclusively for Iraqi and Syrian minorities and that radical Islamic extremism within existing camps be dealt with.

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