Refugee, Jordanian, and Other Migrant
experiences with integration
Syrian Experiences with Palestinian-Jordanian Social Exclusion
Syrians report that they sometimes encounter hate speech in day to day activities. Some have reported their belief that the majority of the people engaging in this kind of behavior were Jordanians of Palestinian origin. Of those we spoke to, these Palestinian Syrians were also blamed by Syrians for exploitation in the workplace. Some Palestinian Jordanians described a negative attitude to Syrians due to their belief that the aid given to Syrians is derived from the same donors that fund them through UNRWA.
And Palestinians’ fears that they are being abandoned by the international community are not without evidence on the ground: the UNHCR office for Syrian refugees in Irbid is a clean new compound in the wealthiest neighborhood of the city, while the UNRWA offices are sad, weathered buildings with dirty and disintegrating flags and signage out front located in poor neighborhoods downtown. As such, they feel that the Syrian presence in Jordan has led to a decrease in international aid that they previously received. Furthermore, some Palestinian Jordanians dislike Syrians due to their political positions, believing the Syrian regime has supported the Palestinian cause while most Syrians in Jordan are against the regime.
Syrians face discrimination and hate speech coming from other groups of the Jordanian population too. This is generally due to the widespread conviction that Syrian refugees have caused the economic crisis in Jordan. This conviction is spread by the government itself, who often reports on the issues caused by Syrians in official statements and reports. This conviction stands in contrast to academic studies that suggest that the Syrian refugee crisis was beneficial to the Jordanian economy by attracting foreign donors (see for example Akeed, 2018). As such, economists believe that the Syrian refugee crisis has become a “scapegoat” that helps the government evade responsibility for its own failure to improve the situation in Jordan (See for example AmmanNet, 2018).