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Theses Master's

The Right to No Longer be a Refugee: The Legal Empowerment of Syrian Refugees in Jordan

Mayer, Rachel

The now-protracted Syrian refugee crisis has become the largest global refugee crisis since World War II. Although often discussed in terms of the European migration crisis, this crisis has had a far greater impact on the neighboring host countries, which have been overwhelmed by massive influxes of Syrian refugees since the onset of the crisis in Syria. Moreover, these generous host countries have not received nearly enough support from the international community to cope with the crisis. Consequently, these countries have placed more and more restrictions on Syrian refugees. Syrian refugees in Jordan are marginalized and are not afforded basic rights like the right to work. As humanitarian aid has been consistently underfunded, and Syrian refugees’ savings have dried up, many Syrian refugees are no longer able to cope. Herein I examine the case of the Syrian refugees in Jordan. I focus on legal status of Syrian refugees in Jordan through a human rights lens, bearing in mind the economics and security perspectives. I use the noted observations and interviews with Jordanian nationals, Syrian refugees, and staff from various UN agencies, IGOs and INGOs, and local NGOs obtained during my fieldwork in Jordan in March 2016 in addition to archival material, reports, and other publicly available secondary sources. I conclude that Jordan is obligated to ensure the protection of these Syrian refugees’ human rights (including both civil and political and social, economic, and cultural rights) regardless of how the refugee influx has impacted its economy, infrastructure, and national security. Furthermore, it is in Jordan’s economic and national security interests to integrate the Syrian refugees not just economically but legally by providing them with a pathway to citizenship.

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Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Khalidi, Rashid
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
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