challenges and another emerging facing Palestinian refugee in Lebanon
executive summary 2017
Deal" and the threat of halting UNRWA support, and the security crises in
the region pose a real danger on the refugee's future.
In a press conference at its office
in Beirut, the Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness) launched its
Annual report for 2017 about the situations of the Palestinian refugees in
Lebanon under the title: " Rights of Palestinian Refugees in
Lebanon, where to?"
The press conference began with the
Lebanese and Palestinian national anthems, then a word for the human rights
activist Yusra Khalaf, who said; " this report comes under difficult conditions the
Palestinian refugees passes by it, including what is related to the
ambiguous relationship between the Lebanese state and the Palestinian refugees,
and what is related to the bloody conflict in the region, and including the
decision of the Us President Trump to move the US Embassy to the occupied city
of Jerusalem, and including the threat of halting UNRWA support."
Khalaf's added that this report
comes within the Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness) effort in
defending the rights of Palestinian refugees, including the publication of the
annual report within high-quality human rights standards.
Then, Dr. Mahmoud EL-Hanafi,
Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness) director, reviewed the
executive summary of the annual report.
Hanafi said that the year 2017:
" Witnessed an additional decline in the level of respect for the rights
of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and the Lebanese government didn’t fulfill
its international obligations toward the rights of Palestinian refugees in
Lebanon, in particularly the right to own property, and the right to work, and
the right to expand the area of the camps in proportion to the increase in
population. Also there is a significant decline has recorded in the level and
quality of services provided by UNRWA. And the US threats to stop UNRWA support
added a serious concern to the Palestinian refugee community and to the
Lebanese state itself. And the report recorded an increase in the security
tensions in the Palestinian camps, which resulted in dozens of dead and
wounded, as well as the physical damage. The report accurately monitored the
situations of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon at various levels, at the
level of Lebanese state and the Palestinian rights, at the level of UNRWA and
Palestinian rights, and at the level of the local governance of the camps.
Regarding the services provided by
UNRWA Hanafi said:" there are two challenges in this regard, the first is
related to the financial crisis which this international agency is experiencing
and which negatively affects the quantity and the type of services, and the
second is related to the agency performance itself, which need to be carefully
evaluated." Then Hanafi moved to
review the services provided by the agency, where a notes were recorded on
each, whether in health, education or university scholarship (14 scholarships
provided by UNRWA to approximately 1,300 students who had passed the official
examination), or in the crisis of Nahr al-Bared or in the infrastructure
projects or the project of social services...
Regarding the census, Hanafi said:
" "Despite the importance of this census, but (witness) believes that
the results of the census will not be reflected positively on the level of
rights in the foreseeable or even the average, because the complexity of
granting rights to the Palestinian is more than a numbers issue, for example on
the level of owning property right, and despite the Palestinian contribution in
this issue, however there is no positive climate that permits the right to own
property. This cumulative climate related to cultural and historical conditions
which are difficult to overcome easily."
As for the number in the census
(174422 people), Hanafi asked" why there is a huge difference between this
number and what UNRWA provided in its record about 490000 people, and how UNRWA
will deal with this difference at the level of funding".
On the level of the
Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, Hanafi said: "this document
contains provisions that would, if applied, improve the humanitarian situation
of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon."
And about the relationship between
the Lebanese army and the Palestinian camps, Hanafi said: "the Lebanese
army taking strict procedures at the entrance of the camps which hinder people's
lives in general and constitute an additional suffering for them. And the army sources
say that these strict procedures are to protect the camp from the wanted and
terrorists. But these procedures are applied to all the camp residents and not
the wanted." (Witness) has called
in more than one occasion
in humanization these procedures in order to achieve the army's goals of
achieving security and preserve the human dignity of the camp resident.
And Hanafi praised some official
institutions, especially the directorate of the Political Affairs and Refugees,
and the Lebanese public security, which has developed its work on the ease of
issuing official documents, and for the issuing of biometric travel document.
As for the security tensions and the
local governance inside the camps, Hanafi said: "the Palestinian
association for human Rights (Witness) has recorded a remarkable increase in
security tensions compared to 2016; the most significant indicator of this is
the increase in deaths due to these tensions, which Hanafi described as absurd
and harmful. And )Witness) has documented 24 dead in 2017, while documenting
15 dead in 2015, and 10 dead in 2016.
The Palestinian camps still need a political reference chosen democratically
that earns the confidence of the population and is capable of dealing with all
challenges, political, economic social, and security.
Hanafi concluded by presenting the
report's recommendations which is addressed to the international community, the
Lebanese State, UNRWA and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Association for Human Rights (Witness)