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
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
1. Calling on UNRWA to provide child care in the
field of psycho-social support and disseminating messages in this field to
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.
Association for Human Rights (witness)