Executive Summary for February 26th

We review the latest refugee-related issues, including a study finding 85 percent of Syrian children in Jordan are in poverty, a rights body warning the Mexico refugee system is near collapse and Myanmar denying Rohingya village demolitions are hiding evidence.

Published on Feb. 26, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

More Than Eight Out of 10 Syrian Children Living in Poverty in Jordan

Eighty-five percent of Syrian children in Jordan live in poverty, a new study found. The findings from the United Nations agency for children included data showing that 38 percent of Syrian child refugees are also out of school.

The UNICEF study was based on a sample of 1,000 families from the 660,000 registered Syrian refugees. The government of Jordan estimates that the real Syrian population in the country is close to 1.3 million.

UNICEF’s findings reinforce other research that demonstrates the continuing deterioration of living standards of Syrian children in Jordan, according to Robert Jenkins, the agency’s Jordan representative.

“The overwhelming message of this study is that Syrian refugee families are becoming increasingly vulnerable in Jordan,” he told the Associated Press. Jenkins said donor countries need to step up their aid to the country. He also said that UNICEF has a $145.7 million funding shortfall for its Jordan programs.

The study also found that 94 percent of Syrian under-fives lack at least two of the five basics, such as access to healthcare and preschools.

The Jordanian government announced a reshuffle of its cabinet in a move seen as an attempt to soothe public anger over the deteriorating economy. Jordan faces a three-year program agreed with the International Monetary Fund that will strip subsidies and lower the budget deficit.

A rare protest took place outside Amman earlier in February, calling for price controls and a check on high-level corruption.

Mexico Human Rights Commission Warns Refugee System Close to Collapse

Mexico has been warned that its refugee system faces possible collapse. The message came from Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission in response to the volume of asylum requests in 2017.

The commission issued a warning over what it calls “the possible collapse of the system for protecting refugees” as 60 percent of applications remain unattended.

The human rights body said that of the nearly 14,600 refuge requests received during the last year only 40 percent had been answered. Some requests from 2016 are also unresolved, despite the fact that Mexican law stipulates that a decision should be issued within 45 days.

A statement from the commission described the situation as “concerning” and leaves those seeking refuge without the legal status that would let them work.

The body called on the federal government to provide “a clear signal of the commitment it traditionally maintains to asylum and refuge, which has characterized our country over the years.”

Myanmar Denies Hiding Evidence by Demolishing Rohingya Villages

Myanmar has denied hiding evidence of atrocities by bulldozing Rohingya villages. The government said it was clearing the way to resettle refugees.

The comments followed the publication of satellite imagery by Human Rights Watch, the New York-based monitor, that showed 55 villages razed to the ground. The group said that at least two of the villages appeared to be intact before heavy machinery began the demolition.

Human Rights Watch said the operation may have been aimed at removing evidence of ethnic cleansing, a charge leveled at the military in Myanmar by both the United States and the U.N.

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