Reports & Researches

AL Qasimiyyah residential area Lost rights between UNRWA's responsibilities and landlords Definition:
30/12/2016



 

Definition:

The establishment history of Al Qasimiyyah residential gathering, which is located near the southern city of Tyre, goes back to the Nakba 1948. It is bordered by Burj Rahhal town to the east, Saida-Tyre highway to the west, Al Qasimiyyah River to the north, and Al Bourgholiyyah town to the south. It follows Burj Rahhal town administratively in addition to real estate conditions.

Its labeled name is related to the adjacent river "Al Qasimiyyah River"- known as "Litani River"

It has a population of 2000 people in accordance of the local committees there.

Some of the families who live in Al Qasimiyyah gathering: ( Ramadan, Rmayyed, ALMousa, Rahimah, Mizyan, Al Mahdawi, AL Mustafa, Al Numairy). They descend from clans' origins including: Ghawarnah, Arab AL Heib, Arab Al Hamdoun, Arab Al Numeirat "Moroccans", and other clans.

Most of its youth have a desire to emigrate to European countries, especially Germany, escaping from the hard economic situation experienced by them. Thus, it is called Berlin gathering (as a matter of humor).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A camp, or a residential area?

A camp (UNRWA's definition) is a piece of land, either governmental or in most cases hired by these governments from local landlords, put under UNRWA's control in order to help Palestinian refugees achieving their basic needs. People in these locations can not own a property, yet they can benefit from it.

The residential area is a place where Palestinian refugees live either under the property of some landlords or a common land, in which UNRWA is not responsible for rent issues on these lands. Thus, people in residential areas will not benefit from UNRWAs' services as other camps do.

 

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live in an extremely bad conditions, whether they are facing the laws and regulations or facing the reality. You can find different means of suffering between any camp or gathering, but the difference here is proportional rather than qualitative.

Laws and regulations in Lebanon affects the Palestinian existence whether they lived in a city, a camp, even in a gathering. Palestinians are deprived from the rights of work especially "self-employment" and the right of ownership that prevent the possession of at least one real estate. As a general conclusion, the suffering here is that the gathering is an unofficial area (in terms of UNRWA and Lebanese government), so they do not have such services involved in camps in addition to the strict actions toward the construction procedures.

 

 

UNRWA and Lebanese government's vision toward Palestinian gatherings in Lebanon:

Palestinian gatherings in Lebanon are held inevitably as they are lands that follow the ownership of Lebanese territories of the neighboring municipalities. Some of these land are overlapped with the properties of Osseiran, Hasan Yunis(expatriate in America), and Al Qasimiyyah residential area. Some inhabitants are obliged to leave some properties similar to what happened in AL Shabriha gathering, where 65 houses are expected to be removed completely. Actually, this is what happening now in Al Qasimiyyah gathering, where some of the properties are threatened to be removed forcibly by the Lebanese government.

UNRWA states that it is responsible for only 12 camps in Lebanon, trying to disclaim any services directly to the gathering or referring to the nearest camp in terms of these services (education, health clinics…..). UNRWA considers the removal of garbage, development of infrastructure, and renovating houses as an out of its responsibilities; thus, there is some civil society institutions holding up these services, and UNRWA has recently begun to provide a small quantity of the diesel fuel to run water wells generators, and these quantities are not enough in general.

The Lebanese government and municipalities hold the case of tide (attraction and inaction), but the municipalities and the Lebanese authorities put strict limitations on development or improvement which leads to a dumped, suffered, and marginalized gatherings.

Inhabitants in Al Qasimiyyah gathering are deprived from renovating their houses (no longer habitable), on the other hand, landlord are forcing people to leave their houses in order to set up their investment projects. Based on the above, the dilemma continues since there is a right to find a decent resident for people, and the right for the owner to invest in his own properties.

 

Al Qasimiyyah gathering and the local Community

 

The local Community is considered as a semi-official party that consists of local committees and other civil society associations. In fact, these parties are not influential, but they keep demanding for development and calling to remove threatens against Palestinian people, they count threatened homes that could fall and demand institutions and donors to intervene for the maintenance and rehabilitation in order to preserve the lives of Palestinian refugees, where the priority goes to the most subjected to damage. They also supervise the work of cleaning, (removal of waste, to communicate with the neighboring parties to alleviate the suffering).

 

As the local committee confirmed, there are 23 houses that need to be renovated and maintained, but the work did not start because of the owners' concerns. UNDP and the international committee of the Red Cross have tried to remove these concerns, yet they are not successful. Promises were given to the owners as the procedure is going to only repair what is damaged and not to construct new properties (Burj Rahhal's municipality has a positive stand along with the owners of these properties).

 

Conclusion:

1- The very first problem that Palestinian people in Al Qasmiyyah gathering suffer from is living in an unofficial area that does not undergo UNRWA's mission and properties owned by landlords and the Lebanese government. Therefore, the owner of this land has the right to do whatever her wants, but the situation differs since the people here have a long-term national and political issue.

2- UNRWA had not tried to rent these areas in order to relief people and lift them up from the case of suffering.

3- The issue of the dilapidated houses is a serious problem at all times with fears of falling down in addition to the severe damage in people's health. The state of anxiety and deprivation experienced by people brings repulsive environment for the residents of Al Qasimiyyah gathering. As a result, we witness a huge percentage of youth immigration and there is not an accurate counting for the percentage of immigration because many of families immigrated in the 60s. The percentage has increased especially last year as the wave of immigration started with the "open door policy" followed by Angela Merkel and EU from Syria to Europe.

4- The situation of youth immigration is the direct reason why the percentage of spinsterhood is increasing. Statistics confirm that most of the gathering women reach 35 years old yet not married. Eventually, this case weakens the family relation, which reflects negatively on all family members.

 

Recommendations:

The Palestinian Association for Human Rights calls for:

1- Cancellation of the ownership prevention for the Palestinians, because of its disastrous effects on the economic and social life.

2- Approval of expanding the area of camps in collaboration with UNRWA

3- Improvement of the situation of these Palestinian communities in Lebanon in terms of rehabilitation of housing, infrastructure, and providing the needs in order to solve the issue of refugees.

4- Broadening UNRWA's services to include all Palestinian communities in terms of education, health and hygiene and rehabilitation of homes and infrastructure.

5- Possibility of providing space by neighboring municipalities if landlords continued to refuse renovating houses.

6- Work to rehabilitate the endangered houses, either by buying or renting these properties, trying to find an alternative, or negotiating with the owners in order to rehabilitate these houses.

7- Formation of a committee in order to pursue the case of threatened houses collapse and make quick actions in order to reconstruct the damaged ones.

 

 

Beirut 30 Dec, 2016

 

 

Palestinian Association for Human Rights