Reports & Researches

In light of the economic crisis and the failure of UNRWA

In light of the economic crisis and the failure of UNRWA

What are the options of Palestinian youth in Al-Hilweh camp?



The Palestinian refugee in Lebanon lives in successive crises. Year after year, suffering beyond suffering, blocked horizons and limited opportunities. An eye on the present, an eye on the future, and what a future?

Ain al-Hilweh camp, the capital of the Palestinian diaspora and the largest camp in Lebanon in terms of population, where according to UNRWA statistics, about 35,000 people live in it, while many estimates see that the population of Ain al-Hilweh camp has reached about seventy thousand people or more, and it is the largest in terms of area, and constructional overcrowding.

Ain al-Hilweh camp, which is located near the city of Sida, is predominantly commercial, as most of the camp residents depend on shops and food to obtain their daily livelihood.

The residents of Ain El-Helweh camp also tend to work in construction and its subsidiaries, which has become very limited. This is the result of two reasons: Lebanon’s economic conditions and the decline in construction rates resulting from the owning property law, which deprives Palestinians of owning property, and what this means in terms of stopping Palestinian investment in construction, and this hinders or prevents the Palestinian movement in this direction. Also the absence of job opportunities originally resulting from preventing Palestinians from Practicing 72 occupations.

The repercussions of the economic crisis on the Ain El-Helweh camp

The economic crisis affected the conditions of the Palestinian refugees in Ain El-Helweh camp, to increase the size of living suffering. The great deterioration of the Lebanese pound against the US dollar in the black market, to five times more than it was eight months ago in synchronism with the spread of the Corona virus, has had a very bad impact on the Palestinian refugees in Ain El-Helweh camp, including:

-         The high prices of goods and commodities on the camp merchants, which led to the closure of a large number of shops.

-         Decline in commercial activity in the main vegetable market.

-         High rates of poverty and unemployment

-          The inability to pay the university and school tuition fees, especially for the kindergarten stage, including the stationery fees.

-         Concern over the rise in social ills.

The right to a decent standard of living

The reality of the Palestinian refugees in general, and in the Ain El-Helweh camp in particular, is contradict with the goals for which UNRWA was established and with international human rights law.

In light of the suffocating economic crisis, the services provided by UNRWA do not meet the needs of the refugees, not even at its minimum.

The social and relief organizations are making huge efforts to provide aid and assistance according to their capabilities, but these efforts remain scarce in comparison to the size of the difficult conditions that the camp residents are going through.

The question to be ask is what are the consequences of this stifling economic crisis and the failure of UNRWA. What are the options available to Palestinian youth? A question needs tremendous efforts, extraordinary initiatives and great cooperation to save Palestinian youth from an unknown future.


Beirut, 6/11/2020

Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness)