Displaced Iraqis in Jordan: Formal and Informal Information Flows, and Migratory Decisions in a Context of Uncertainty

Adam Saltsman


While it is not uncommon for humanitarian organizations, such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to implement information campaigns about forced migrant rights, the assistance available to them, and options for the future, these efforts often meet unintended consequences. Forced migrants have, at times, rejected, misinterpreted, and condemned the information they get from these sources. This paper argues that official information campaigns often falter for two crucial reasons beyond resource scarcity. First, those agencies disseminating information are often under pressure to curb the outflow of migrants from the Global South, and as a result, information provision has tended to be coloured by efforts to control or protect against forced migrants’ movement or desires. Second, these agencies do not typically consider or engage with migratory capital, including migrants’ informal networks for sharing knowledge about the migratory process. As a case study, this paper relies on qualitative interviews and focus groups with Iraqis displaced in Jordan to explore their lived experiences vis-à-vis both the official information from humanitarian agencies and their informal networks that are transnational in nature.

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