A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Syrian and Jordanian runners were today (Friday) due to run 10 kilometers as part of the Samsung Amman International Marathon and to highlight their solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria.
Around 300 people joined ARDD–Legal Aid’s and Oxfam’s call to run as part of the campaign for human dignity of the 500,000 Syrian refugees living in Jordan. The runners, including ARDD and Oxfam staff, carried the slogan: “Refugees are our guests, their dignity is our dignity.”
“I am running side by side with Syrian refugees today because I want them to feel welcome in our home,” said Mahmoud Shabeeb, one of the runners and ARDD staff member. “I want everyone to think of them as dignified human beings. Syrians are going through a humanitarian tragedy right now and solidarity with them is what makes us truly human.”
A quarter of Syrian refugees in Jordan live in Zaatari Camp in Mafraq while the rest are scattered in host communities.
“I’m happy to be running today next to Jordanians and I’m here to stand with our hosts and express my appreciation for their generosity,” said Aisha, a 34-year-old Syrian who fled from Hama with her husband and four children more than a year ago. “The moment I learnt about this initiative I made dozens of calls to other Syrians and Jordanians I know here to do this together.”
Aisha is one of several Syrian women who were trained through ARDD’s Oxfam-funded Voice Project as citizen journalists, raising other refugees’ concerns and giving them a voice on social media.
“I’m running today to support the dignity of Syrian refugees who should not continue to pay for the unfortunate events in their country,” said Rana Habahbeh, a young Jordanian woman running in the 10k race.
ARDD-Legal Aid is the organizer of this campaign. In cooperation with international agency, Oxfam, the organization implements “Voice”: a two-year project that highlights the right of Syrians to live a life with human dignity free from fear and want. It also advocates for the international community’s intervention to help host countries like Jordan.
Besides the solidarity message with Syrians, runners also joined ARDD’s “Women’s Access to Justice” advocacy campaign, which is also funded by Oxfam.
“We are running for two important causes, relevant to people living in Jordan. Women’s access to justice is the most fundamental right for all women in the region and specifically in Jordan,” said the Director of ARDD- Legal Aid Samar Muhareb. “But we can’t stay silent in the face of the Syrians’ humanitarian tragedy.”
Oxfam’s Program Manager, in Jordan, Syma Jamil said: “Our local and international staff members are taking part in this marathon to show support and raise awareness on the needs of refugees and Jordanians. Oxfam has reached out to more than 100,000 people in Jordan, including poor Jordanians in vulnerable communities, through water and sanitation projects and cash to meet basic needs. Raising awareness, giving a voice to these people is also an essential part of our work to ensure they lead dignified lives."
Notes to editors
ARDD-Legal Aid is a Jordanian human rights organization dedicated to helping Jordanian and non-Jordanian vulnerable communities, while Oxfam is an international humanitarian organization currently working in Jordan to extend humanitarian relief to Syrian refugees as well as vulnerable Jordanians.
Oxfam and ARDD’s media officers can provide more quotes, interviews, photos and video clips from today’s events.
People can support the runners at http://www.justgiving.com/AmmanMarathonforSyria.
For more information call:
Hana’ Riyad | 077 8400 547 | email@example.com
Karl Schembri | 079 0625 217 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit: http://voicemiddleeast.wordpress.com/about/ or http://ardd-jo.org/Projects?ID=1