When the bureaucracy discriminates: the case of Christian refugees in Amman 

Christian refugees from Iraq and workers from NGOs in Amman who did not want to have their names recorded, indicated that visa applications from Christian families were often actively delayed by people in the bureaucracy,” said Andreas Thonhauser of ADF International, a legal organisation documenting eye witness accounts of victims of genocide in the Middle East for legal prosecution.

“Some claimed they witnessed how Christian passports were always put at the bottom of the stack in embassies or at international institutions. It is very hard to provide proof for these accusations but there should be a thorough mechanism of monitoring the application process in place,” he continued.

Amman, the capital, and the Kingdom of Jordan, is known for its tolerance of religions. Many Iraqi Christians went to Amman from North Iraq to escape the black flags of ISIS.

We will crucify you like your dog, Jesus Christ,” is the sentence Jakub heard before being tortured in front of her kids. Her Christian family along with many others decided to leave their home and go to Amman.

Christians in Amman now want to have their visas mainly to go to Canada or Australia to have a new life since Jordan allowed Iraqi Christians into its territory as visitors, not as refugees. “Iraqis have to pay for their food, their lodging, and Jordan is not cheap. Since they are not allowed to earn money, most of the Christians have used up whatever resources they had stowed away somewhere. They are desperate because they know, they will not be able to survive much longer,” stated Andreas Thonhauser.

Despite the appeal of Christian patriarchs many of them don’t want to come back to their home. Witness told to ADF observers in Amman that they don’t trust their neighbours anymore.  One told that he saw how some of his former friends welcomed ISIS into Mosul, handing the fighters little chocolate bars.

This is gonna be one of the challenges of International community: protecting and promoting the returning of Christian refugees at their own home.

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The writing means “Death to Christians” and was sprayed on the home of one of the Christian families interviewed.

©ADFInternational/Thonhauser