The closure of the Ruweished refugee camp, initially scheduled for the end of September, has been postponed until the end of the year when ongoing resettlement negotiations are expected to be concluded.
"We still need some time to find more countries where we can resettle the remaining refugees," explained Robert Breen, United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) representative for Jordan.
Located around 70km from the Iraqi border in eastern Jordan, the camp is currently home to 337 Iranian-Kurds, Iraqis, and Palestinians.
Some 1,200 refugees were originally housed in the camp after the US-led occupation of Iraq began in 2003. Over the past three years, many have been resettled in New Zealand, Ireland, the United States, Australia, Denmark, Finland and Norway. Jordan also allowed a number of Palestinians with Jordanian spouses to settle in the kingdom.
Over the past few weeks, successful negotiations with Sweden and Ireland led to the transfer of some of the 158 Iranian-Kurds that were in the camp to those countries, according to UNHCR. Another group of 12 Iranians were given the green light for Australia.
However, the plight of 148 Palestinians refugees, nearly half the people remaining at Ruweished, remains unclear as UNCHR officials say a durable solution for them is still being explored.
Jordan was among the first countries to open its borders to Iraqi refugees fleeing the war. However, having absorbed some 600,000 Iraqis in the 1990s after the Gulf War, the Jordanian government has said refugees would not be allowed permanent residence.
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