A Rights-based study to monitor the impact of Coronavirus Pandemic on Palestinian Children in Lebanon

A Rights-based study to monitor the impact of Coronavirus Pandemic on Palestinian Children in Lebanon

The Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness), and in cooperation with the Swedish organization of"New Hope”, released a rights-based study entitled "Palestinian Refugee Children in Lebanon and the Coronavirus Pandemic - a Hidden Childhood behind Accumulated Crises (education, mental health, and economic crisis)".

This study comes as part of a series of reports and studies that monitor the social and economic conditions of the Palestinian refugees.

The study observe the actual and current situation of Palestinian refugees in general and how it affect the Palestinian children in particular. According to the study, children make up 37.9% of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, who live in force majeure conditions that limit their ability to build their future, refine their personalities and block their future prospects. According to information published on the official website of UNRWA, general poverty rates reached 73% within the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, while unemployment rates reached 56%.

The study also deals with explaining the reality of the Palestinian child in light of the Coronavirus pandemic after declaring general mobilization in the country, especially in the field of E-learning and the extent of its effectiveness and the most prominent challenges, as this technique is new and surprising to the parents who may face difficulty in dealing with it. According to some UNRWA teachers, the percentage of students actually benefit from this out-of-control technique does not exceed 50%, due either to poor internet connections or due to difficulties to run educational programs, which implies the possibility of finding only one smartphone per one family i.e. not sufficient to continue the education of all children at home, or for the tight area of some houses. In any case, there are major objective and subjective challenges that prevent the success of E-learning.

The school is the appropriate place to build up the child's personality and develop his mental, physical and psychological abilities. In the absence of the pivotal school mission and roles, the study recommends parents to play a greater role in the process of the child's psychological, physical preparing to make the education process even smooth and attractive for children, and for parents to play the educational and foster role at the same time.

As for the issue of home quarantine and the extent of the commitment of the parents to it, the study divided parents into two groups, the first group are those who are committed to the home quarantine and work to provide a positive environment for children, and the second group are those who do not committ to the quarantine, either as a result of the living and economic burdens and the narrow area of ​​the house in addition to the psychological state of the parents, these are real and serious causes and cannot be overcomed in any way.

The study shows the importance of mental health for children during quarantine, where the child turns to those who are older than him to understand what is going on around him, as well as it shows the most prominent signs that appear on them because of their high concern and how they can with him to maintain his mental health.

The study also shows the role of both UNRWA and civil society towards Palestinian children at this time as UNRWA is primarily responsible for children care. Also the civil society has a great responsibility in light of the weak performance of the concerned parties.

The study presents the summaries of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child to make a comparison between what the convention called for, as providing comprehensive care for children, and the current reality of Palestinian children, to show us that there is a huge difference between conceptual and operational measures.

The study sums up a set of recommendations that shall improve the current situation of children if they are taken into account, most notably:

1. Calling on UNRWA to provide child care in the field of psycho-social support and disseminating messages in this field to children

2. Urging parents not to watch news bulletins in front of children to reduce the possibility of psychotic break occurrence.

3. Providing in-kind and financial assistance to Palestine refugees by UNRWA and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

4. Demanding the Lebanese government to improve the conditions of the Palestinian refugees, as this provides a good basis regarding the goal that calls for living a dignified life for children.



Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness)