Field study about the reality of Palestinian engineers
Palestinians Engineers in Lebanon constitute a clear sample of marginalization
that faced the Palestinians refugees in Lebanon. Because the Lebanese laws are
still prevent the Palestinian engineers to work officially and decently.
the beginning of the serious discussion about the rights of Palestinians
refugees in Lebanon during the last period, and its transmission to the summits
of the Lebanese parliament, the Palestinians engineers felt with optimism that
there is possibility of allowing them to work legally and in dignity by away
that keep their rights. This optimism was vanished when the discussion has
intensified and seemed that if the Palestinians have given their rights, this will
spark a new civil war in Lebanon and leads to divide Lebanon politically rather
than it is now a days, the objectors of giving the refugees their rights knock their
drums about the future of Lebanon and its civil peace. In front of this terrible situation, the hopes
of the Palestinians have dashed and the refugees have become in front of two
choices either to stick with their rights or the stability of Lebanon.
The reduction of the four projects that were submitted
by the Democratic gathering and then by the parties of 14 March, in order to change
some statements in labor law and social security law that allows the
Palestinians to obtain a permission of work and the compensation of the
retirement or the end of the service and for injury work. This causes a fanfare
about the perception of the qualitative changes in the life of the Palestinian
refugees in Lebanon.
fanfare that accompanied the modifications in some statements was not true,
since all the issues are still vague and need to explain with other laws and
the right of work for the Palestinian engineers, doctor, and pharmacists have
remained without solution. These professions are still working under special
laws or regulations. The law which regulates the profession of Palestinian
engineers in Lebanon has not been discussed at all. The hopes have vanished and
lost in the Lebanese narrow political alleys.
front of this reality, The Palestinian engineer has face two choices, either migrates
to a Western country that respects his knowledge and efficiency, and may offer him
a citizenship of this country and then return to Lebanon or to the countries of
Arab Gulf, or he may stay in Lebanon, faces the injustice, unfairness and
Palestinian community in Lebanon is still lacking a sufficient number of
doctors, engineers and pharmacists. And now these professions in the
Palestinian camps become so rare. The logical question is how can any society be
advanced without these professions?
is a reluctance to study the free professions, because of the high financial
costs, and there is a clear migration of these elites because the European
countries or the U.S. welcomes the Palestinian brain, and how to maintain the
right of return for the refugees from the Lebanese authorities then? The Prevent
of settlement of the refugees via the Lebanese method leads automatically for
force displacement, and dispersal of the Palestinians again many times. How can
accept the insult of the Palestinian engineers through the deprivation of their
right to work and not to be equated with his Lebanese brothers?!
study that has launched recently in cooperation between the Palestinian Association
for Human Rights "Witness" and the Association of Palestinians
Engineers in Lebanon, is trying to discover the reality of the Palestinian
engineer objectively and in a scientific way.
The study was divided into three sections:
1- Section that looks at the actual legal framework of the Palestinian
engineers in Lebanon.
2- Section looking at the results of the study,
3- Section presents important supplements relevant for the study.
For the first section, the legal
department, where the study discussed in detail the legal status of Palestinian
refugees in Lebanon, including the legal framework of the Palestinian engineers
in Lebanon with the presentation of legal options and proposals for laws to
modify this framework in order to suit with the rights of engineers, according
to the principles of the relevant human rights.
The second part abbreviated
the reality of Palestinian engineers in Lebanon during the study that relied on
a random sample of 93 interviewed Palestinian engineers, representing 31% of
the total number of the Palestinian engineers in Lebanon, who are about 300
engineers. The study relied on interviews with Lebanese engineers also. The questionnaire
has dealt with all factors that affecting the reality of the Palestinian
engineer, starting from his village or camp, to the distribution of sexual and
age of engineers as well as residential distribution. The sample included types
of engineering specializations, and monthly income, and the costs of study
engineering, and the university from which he has graduated as an engineer, and
the social environment, and the political guidance for Palestinian students to
study engineering. Also it included questions
about the type of work, and place, and whether the Palestinian got a job
easily. Also it discussed the situation of the Lebanese Engineering Association
and how it is difficult for the Palestinian engineers to join it. The questionnaire
has dealt also with questions about the social reality of the Palestinian engineers
and the nature of the employment contract. Also it included questions about the
rights of Palestinian engineers in their work and whether they get it or not. The
questionnaire also included questions about the actual situation of the General
Union of Palestinian Engineers in Lebanon.
clear from the sample that the percentage of 9.7% of Palestinian engineers has won
excellent recognition in their graduation, the percentage who has won a very
good estimate about 22.9%, while the percentage who received a good estimate of
54.8% while 10.6% did not get estimation. This good feature for the Palestinian
university students started to decline in quantity over the years due to many
The study has also showed that the nature of
the contract between the employers and Palestinian engineers are not stable.
The Percentage of 29.16% working under an annual contract, and the percentage of
29.16% are working under a monthly contract, and 12.5% are employed under a
permanent contract, and 2.08% are working under seasonal contracts, while the
percentage who are working without a contract are about 18.48%, while those who
don't have enough information about them may reach about 8.3%.
study showed that 47.3% of the engineers were studied at the universities in
Lebanon, while the percentage of 52.7% of them has studied in Arab countries or
foreign ones. This difference may be due to the golden period that the
Palestinians have experienced in the past time when the "PLO" had
been provided university scholarships for students to study abroad.
The study also showed that 50.54% of the
Palestinian engineers are working in their field of specialization. The
percentage of 48.39%, are not working in their field, which is high and
disturbing. The legal status of Palestinians in Lebanon prevents them to work
in the engineering profession.
Palestinians Engineers that the study included confirms that discrimination
against them includes salaries, privileges, and the employment levels, and the
official treatment, and the social security. This feeling of injustice and
discrimination has its explanation by the Palestinian engineers who have
confirmed that the salaries which they have taken are not commensurate with the
effort and work they exert and this was confirmed by 79.17% of the engineers
working in their field. And the issues that increase the stress upon the
Palestinian engineers, is the higher cost of living in Lebanon. 68.75% of the Palestinian engineers in the
sample said that the salaries are not enough to meet the costs of life in
the Palestinian engineers who were included in the sample were asked if they
feel with a job security, 75% of them answered no, while 25% said they feel
with safe career. These high rates from the Palestinian engineers who miss the sense
of job security make them worry and nervous, waiting for vague future that
leads them to termination at any time and become outside their work, and the lack
of job security is a part of the general system that makes the Palestinians in
Lebanon feel with worry and fear about their future.
There are many responsibilities, according to engineers who were
First responsibility lies
heavily on the Lebanese state, which doesn't provide a suitable legal ground
for an engineer.
Second responsibility lies on
UNRWA, which doesn't help the Palestinian Student to get university scholar
ships to study engineering only under limited conditions.
Third responsibility lies on
the Palestinian factions because there is no standard frame of reference helps
the Palestinian engineers to overcome their challenges or to argue with the successive
Lebanese governments to stop prejudice towards the rights of Palestinians.
Fourth responsibility lies on the
Union of Palestinian engineers who haven't formulated a program which gather the
work of this important sector of the Palestinian refugees.
So this is the reality of Palestinian engineers,
what would the Palestinians in Lebanon do about their reality, and what are the
methods that should be followed to obtain their rights? And when the Lebanese
decision-maker wakes up from the obsession of fear and anxiety from the
Palestinian presence in Lebanon? Is this anxiety and fear is legal, acceptable,
is a great responsibility upon the Palestinian references in Lebanon, their
weakness and division encouraged the successive Lebanese governments to deal
with the Palestinians in this way. The democratic dimension of this reference
is an important criterion in their effectiveness. The Palestinians in Lebanon
should not be turned from a revolutionary people to people looking for crumbs
of rights here and there. The references of the Palestinian Should determine
the priorities. One of the first priorities is to strive hard to make the
Palestinians in Lebanon live in dignity and to enable them to stand up in front
of all the challenges that threaten their right to return to their homeland
Association for Human Rights (Witness)