Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

Plights and Aspirations: ARDD – Legal Aid and Al Ghad Newspaper visit Za’atari camp

Hani Okasheh

On Tuesday March 31st, ARDD – Legal Aid together with journalist Rania Sarairah from Al Ghad Newspaper conducted a site visit to ARDD Legal Aid’s offices in Za’atari camp and Mafraq governorate. The purpose of the visit was to explore various aspects of ARDD – Legal Aid’s work with refugees in both settings, and showcase the work and efforts of government and international donors within the camp.
At the first stop, the group visited ARDD – Legal Aid’s offices in Mafraq governorate, which holds the third largest population of Syrian refugees in Jordan, amounting to 72,242.  There the group met the staff working in the office and discussed the challenges facing urban refugees, in an attempt to highlight the different types of challenges facing urban refugees and camp-based refugees. Financial constrains, lack of awareness, protection and aid ranked as the top challenges facing urban refugees in Mafraq.

The next stop was the Za’atari Refugee Camp, which according to latest statistics is home to some 83,496 Syrian refugees. The group toured the camp which is managed by the UNHCR and Syrian Refugee Camps Affairs Directorate; the Jordanian entity overseeing Syrian Refugees Camps in Jordan, who are placing great efforts to sustain the stability of the camp, and provide for the Syrian Refugees who fled their homes in search of a haven from the conflict in Syria.

After a tour in the camp, the group visited ARDD – legal aid’s offices in Zaatari, where they met with the organisation’s staff. ARDD – Legal Aid’s staff explained the services they provide to Syrians in the camps, and the most prominent concerns that Syians bring to them. They also discussed the office-led legal awareness campaigns aiming to inform Syrian refugees of their legal rights. ARDD – Legal Aid’s staff also spoke of the issues facing Syrian refugees regarding marriages and registering the birth of new children in Jordan, alongside other differences between the laws in Jordan and Syria.

Also in Zaatari, the group met with former beneficiaries of ARDD – Legal Aid’s projects in the camp and discussed issues they faced, specifically education issues facing children. They also discussed the plight of Syrians in the camps and their aspirations for the future.