Reasons for the refusal of Palestinian
refugees to obtain a work permit
And the implications of the Minister's
The role of UN and human rights
organizations in this crisis
The decision of the Lebanese Minister of
Labor, Camille Abu Suleiman, on the organizing of labor, has provoked angry
reactions among the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, those who started to stage sit-ins and
protest movements against the closure of institutions and shops owned or run by
Palestinians, following the start of inspection of the Ministry of Labor in all
Lebanese territories on Thursday, 11/7/2019, within the framework of the
imposition of the implementation of this resolution.
Why do the Palestinian refugees protest
this resolution? What are the expected results after its implementation? Did
international institutions play their part towards the rights of Palestinian
refugees in Lebanon?
Why do the Palestinian refugees reject the
decision of the Lebanese Minister of Labor regarding work permits?
Work permits are granted to a foreigner,
and the Palestinian is not a foreigner. It is a refugee and enjoys special and
exceptional rights in accordance with the law, and its legal status differs in
form and substance from that of a foreigner.
Work permits shall be granted for a fixed
period of one to three years, renewed and issued in relation to the needs of
Work permits shall be granted according to
a specific profession. Its issuance and renewal are also linked to the
compatibility of the Minister of Labor with trade unions and for the needs of
the Lebanese market.
The authority of the Ministry of Labor
shall remain on the necks of the
employers and workers of Palestine for the duration and occupation.
Any person holding a work permit shall not
move to another institution or practice another profession without obtaining
the prior approval of the Ministry of Labor.
Institutions must train Lebanese workers to
replace foreign workers. If Palestinian refugees are classified as foreigners,
they will be on the waiting list until somebody came and take their places.
Limited work permit (in terms of time and
occupation) is an introduction to the limited residency of Palestinians in
The inability of the Palestinian employer
to apply for a bank loan with a longer repayment period than his work leave.
The employer's vacation may be for months
or years, while his investment takes years to pay off.
The Palestinian worker pays 25.5% of his salary to the
Social Security Fund and receives only 8.5%, which means he loses 17% of the
Implications of the decision of the
Lebanese Minister of Labor
Change the legal status of Palestinians in
Lebanon from refugees with special status to the category of foreign workers.This poses a serious threat to their
political future and threatens the right of return based on established
international resolutions and jus
The Minister's decision will contribute to
the emptying of the international organization entrusted with providing legal protection and services
to refugees from their legal content, what is the agency's role for refugees whose legal
status has been withdrawn and according to the Lebanese State, they became foreign workers subject
to special provisions.
This decision will raise unemployment and
poverty to alarming levels. According to recent UNRWA statistics, unemployment
rates reached 56% and poverty rates reached 73%.
The Minister's decision to impose work
permit on refugees will incur financial burdens he cannot bear. Although the
Palestinian is exempted from the payment of work permit fees, he will have to
pay other fees, among them, as indicated by the General Directorate of Lebanese
Public Security: Ministry of Labor fees 36,000 Lebanese pounds (the minister
proposes to become 100,000 pounds in the new budget) + Registration fees with
the notary public (30 thousand Lebanese pounds for pledge) + Minimum of LBP 100,000
per work contract allowance, The total is 166,000 Lebanese pounds (up to
230,000), if we assume that the Palestinian will be exempted from other
conditions such as: A certificate of deposit for the Housing Bank, which
amounts to one million five hundred thousand Lebanese pounds.
This decision will lead to further
unemployment, poverty and marginalization, which will inevitably lead to a rise
in illegal immigration. Where in less than a month after the Labor Minister's
decision, Beirut witnessed more than 700 Palestinians demonstrated in front of
the Canadian Embassy on Tuesday, August 6, 2019, demanding a collective exodus
to Canada, in order to refuse to live in Lebanon in light of the denial of
civil and economic rights, the latest of which was the Minister of Labor's
Palestinian workers will be subject to
complex "discretion" and "bureaucracy"; It may also be subject to the mood of the
employee. The work
permit application form (for the first time or renewal) is signed by four
officials: the head of the department, and his vice president the director
general and the minister. This means that transactions can stop at any ofthem, according to their discretion.
The role of international institutions
UNRWA's responsibility is clear in
providing legal protection and basic services to Palestine refugees.
UNRWA's role in providing such protection
has not been as required level among Palestine refugees in Lebanon.
UNRWA implicitly endorsed the decision of
the Minister of Labor, which shocked Palestinian refugees. Where its role is to
provide legal protection in its comprehensive sense.
UNRWA's position in support of the
Minister's decision did not take into account the legal dimension of the
matter, nor did it take the extreme outrage of the refugee community. This may
have given a clear signal to the Minister to continue with this decision.
It is required that the matter be submitted
comprehensively from the legal mandate of UNRWA to the Agency's Commission and
not to UNRWA management in Lebanon, or with the Secretary-General of the United
President Mahmoud Abbas can carry this file
and put it in the diplomaticcorridors of the United Nations or international.
In view of the powers vested in the Charter
of the Organization and its unique international character, the United Nations
works to defend human rights issues,
There was no clear position from the UN or
one of its specialized agencies or organizations regarding the current crisis
triggered by the Lebanese Minister of Labor.
There has been no clear and unambiguous
position of the United Nations regarding the difficult humanitarian situation
of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon as a result of the asylum and the
general policies adopted by the Lebanese State against the Palestinian
The UN has not instructed UNRWA (at least
through what we have seen) to fulfill its legal and humanitarian commitment to
refugees, especially in difficult situations experienced by refugees.
Local and international human rights
Human rights organizations play a leading
and prominent role in defending human rights. They constitute the fifth power.
Human rights organizations play multiple
roles of lobbying, advocacy and education, which can constitute a collective
awareness and make society a partner in the defense of human rights.
It is not recorded that local human rights
organizations issued positions on the current crisis (statements, meetings,
Leading international organizations such as
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, although they have issued various
positions on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and urged local authorities to
respect Palestinian human rights in Lebanon earlier, they have not yet issued a
position on the current crisis.
A lobby can be formed from local and
international human rights organizations and communicate with the Lebanese
government to address this crisis in a way that preserves the rights of
We call on the international institutions
to play their role in defending the rights of the Palestinian refugees in
Lebanon and guaranteeing their lives in dignity based on the International Bill
of Human Rights.
We call on the Lebanese Minister of Labor
to reverse his decision to impose work permits on Palestinian refugees because
of their special situation.
We call on the Lebanese government to issue
an implementing decree to activate the amendment of Laws 128 and 129, by which
the Palestinian refugee is treated as a special category of foreign workers and
has a legal status different from other nationalities.
The Lebanese government and the Minister of
Labor should respect international human rights obligations, especially the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and adhere to the Casablanca Protocol of
Beirut in August 23, 2019
Palestinian Association for Human Rights