24 november 2014
(Beirut) – Jordanian authorities have forcibly deported vulnerable Syrian refugees back to Syria in violation of Jordan’s international obligations. Those deported include wounded men and unaccompanied children.
Refugee deportations violate the international law principle of nonrefoulement, which forbids governments from returning people to places where their lives or freedom would be threatened. Those deported include a group of 12 Syrian refugees who had been receiving treatment at a rehabilitation center in northern Jordan as well as four refugees, three of them children, whom Jordanian border police intercepted near the Syrian border.
“Jordan is carrying a heavy refugee burden, but it should not be in the business of sending any refugees back to a conflict zone where their lives are threatened, much less children and wounded men who can’t even walk,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “Such deportations create an environment of fear that affects all refugees.”
A Syrian refugee, Mohammed (not his real name), told Human Rights Watch that a Jordanian border patrol fired on two of his sons, ages 14 and 17, two of their cousins, both under 18,and a 20-year-old Syrian acquaintance as they rode motorcycles near the Syrian border at 12:30 p.m. on November 14, 2014. All are refugees registered with UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.
The 17-year-old was wounded in the right leg and is being treated at a hospital inside Jordan, his father said. The other four were deported. The children’s parents and siblings remain in Jordan.