Sophia's Peace Work

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Salam Al Jabouri is released and ok ...

But another Iraqi friend, Ali, has been detained by the Jordanian Police and deported for overstaying his visa in Jordan. As I write this now, the Jordanians have just dropped him off past the Jordan-side of the border and have told him to walk over to the Iraqi side.

I met Ali before the war when he was working in the restaurant where I was staying. He has been helping internationals working in his country for some time but finally it became to difficult for him to stay and he was in Jordan working with a Canadian sponsor to travel as a refugee to Canada.

My understanding is that the rules are, if you are seeking refugee status, you can't return to your own country. But the process takes so long and Jordan, as well as many of the surrounding countries, don't really care if you are a refugee or not ... they will just deport you if they find you over stay your visa.

I have heard from many Iraqis the the UN High Commission on Refugees will, after a long process, register you as a refugee, which is supposed to help you from being deported but these same people tell me that the Jordanians don't really honor this registration. As a result many Iraqis are here illegally, trying to keep a low profile. Realizing this the Jordanians have many checkpoints and often do spot checks in certain neighborhoods. Ali was taken at one near the airport when he was traveling with a friend on the airport road.

Of course, I understand why the Jordanians are acting this way, considering the bombings they have experienced in the fall ... but right or wrong, it's also innocent people that get hurt by such policies.


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