Thursday, 22 August 2019 08:11 GMT

Amman marks World Refugee Day with opening of summer bazaar

(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and Amman Mayor Yousef Shawarbeh on Thursday inaugurated the #WithRefugees Summer Bazaar at the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM). 

The inauguration of the bazaar came on the occasion of the World Refugee Day and Grandi's visit to Jordan. 

The bazaar brings together over 50 refugee vendors of different nationalities, from in and outside refugee camps in Jordan, to sell a variety of handmade products including artworks, handicrafts, accessories, foods, home decorations and much more.

The bazaar runs through June 22 from 10am till 9pm on the GAM premises. All the proceeds from the event go directly to the refugees, the organisers said. 

At the beginning of the ceremony, master of ceremonies Alia Halaw introduced herself as a 23-year-old refugee from Homs, who arrived in Jordan in 2014 with her parents and older sister, and recounted the UNHCR's support to her to continue her studies. 

"On this special day, we honour and commemorate the lives, strengths and perseverance of millions of refugees around the world, including those in Jordan who left everything behind to save their own lives, families and loved ones from the brutality of conflict," Halaw said during her speech. 

Jordan currently hosts 750,000 refugees from 57 different nationalities, ranking as the second country with the highest number of refugees per capita in the world, Halaw said.

Eighty per cent of those refugees live outside of refugee camps in urban areas. 

Halaw expressed the UNCHR's appreciation of Jordan's role in hosting refugees in spite of its limited resources and extended its gratitude to His Majesty King Abdullah, the government and the Jordanian host communities who welcomed refugees. 

In his opening speech, Shawarbeh welcomed all refugees from all nationalities and expressed pride in Amman's hosting of the bazaar on the occasion of the World Refugee Day.

For his part, Grandi said: "When we remember refugees, we think of their situation, we hope for solutions to their plight and continue to commit to their protection and their support, and I cannot think of any better country and a better city to be in on this day, in Amman."

"There are 57 nationalities of refugees present in Jordan, a country that is small and does not have many resources to take care of all these people by itself," Grandi said.

He promised that he and the United Nations as a whole will remain strong advocates on behalf of Jordan to remind the world that hospitality "is not free, it has a high cost in infrastructure, services, in economic terms, in social and even political terms".

By hosting over 270,000 refugees, Amman has embraced the potential of its refugee population, Grandi said, describing the capital as a 'City of Light' for all those who now call it a temporary home.

Grandi concluded his speech expressing hope that the Syrian refugee crisis will be solved soon and that Syrians will be able to go back to their country, voluntarily, in safety and dignity. 

One in every 14 people who live in Jordan is a refugee, making it the 10th largest country hosting refugees globally and the second largest host of refugees relative to its national population after Lebanon. This is in addition to the over 2 million Palestinian refugees who are looked after by UNRWA, according to a UNHCR statement. 

Figures from the UNHCR's latest Global Trends report, released on Wednesday, also show that the number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million in 2018. This is the highest level that the UN refugee agency has seen since its establishment almost 70 years ago.

Grandi and Shawarbeh, accompanied by the UNHCR team, also toured the bazaar and conversed with the refugee vendors of all ages, who briefly talked about their different products. 

Some of the refugees from Iraq and Syria told Grandi about their experience in working with the host community, specifically the Nuzha Community Support Centre in Amman, which helped some vendors complete their handmade creations and artworks.

Various refugees told The Jordan Times that this is their third bazaar participation, noting that two bazaars have been held before, one at the beginning of 2019 and one in 2018, all of which helped them showcase their products and benefit from the revenue they make to improve their living conditions.

The summer bazaar is facilitated by the GAM with the support of the Canadian embassy, Cairo Amman Bank, the International Labour Organisation, IrisGuard, Landmark Amman Hotel and Zain Jordan, according to the organisers.


Amman marks World Refugee Day with opening of summer bazaar


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