An estimated 55,000 Syrian refugees who escaped the horrors of Syria’s conflict are now languishing in the Rukban camp, abandoned in a no man’s land in a desert area along the Syria-Jordan border, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.
In addition to denying Syrians the right to seek asylum, Jordan’s border closure has impeded delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid and severely restricted humanitarian agencies’ capacity to operate there, the watchdog group said in a report published on Wednesday.
Residents of the camp told HRW they had not had access to drinkable water for 15 days, resulting in diarrhea and dehydration for children and adults.
The last partial aid delivery was almost six months ago and reached only 35,000 people, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
In a statement to the media on November 9, Jan Egeland, the United Nations humanitarian adviser on Syria, highlighted the complexity of the Syrians’ situation. The UN with the help of Russia and the United States has finalized a plan that would provide aid from inside Syria.
HRW’s stressed that Jordan should not reject any Syrian seeking asylum at its border and send them back to face persecution or worse. It added that immediate need is to allow life-saving aid to cross its border into Syria, but Jordan should also allow in vulnerable individuals and those needing medical care. The plan by the UN, US and Russia to work on a cross-line delivery from Damascus should help to calm any concerns that Jordan has that it will be left to bear the responsibility for Rukban on its own.
On August 15, residents of the Rukban camp appealed to the United Nations to urgently intervene after the fighting in the Badiya Syrian Desert disrupted food and water supplies to the camp.
Rukban camp suffers a lack of basic necessities and deteriorating health and education conditions despite appeal by the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador to the Middle East, Ajlouni Al-Majali for urgent action to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the camp. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)