Queen Rania of Jordan raises plight of refugees

Queen Rania said refugees need to have independence and economic self-sufficiency as Jordan bears brunt of 1.3 million refugees

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Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan spoke of the plight of refugees on Wednesday during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Panellists at the WEF annual Meeting in Davos called for a paradigm shift to help the world’s 60 million refugees, and said that traditional ways of helping refugees no longer work on their own as the world faces the worst crisis of displaced persons since World War II.


Jordan hosts 1.3 million refugees as of 2015. Foreign and domestic investors can relocate supply chains there and equip refugees with skill sets needed to later bring back to their home countries once peace is achieved.

"Refugees need to have independence and economic self-sufficiency," Queen Rania added, or else they open themselves up and become vulnerable to recruitment by extremists.

She noted that the average time spent as a refugee is now 17 years. “Jordan alone cannot deal with the problem,” she said.

International aid pays for only 36 percent of refugee upkeep, with the Jordanian government relying on borrowing to finance the rest.

Queen Rania suggested one way of tackling economic strife of refugees if by building economic zones where refugees can seek employment and gain valuabel skill sets.

“We are willing to create economic zones where refugees can find employment,” she said.

Queen Rania's comments come after meeting with UK Prime Minister David Cameron a few days earlier, where he urged for the European Union to ease trade with Jordan in order to “provide real benefits to refugees in the region now, as well as enabling them to play a leading role in Syria’s reconstruction in the future.”

“This is not just in the interests of Syria and her neighbors. It is in the interests of Europe, too. The more we do to enable people to stay in the region, the less likely we are to see them coming to Europe,” Cameron said.

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