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(Witness) warns of a famine that will confront Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

(Witness) warns of a famine that will confront Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

Only if UNRWA takes a preemptive move

Before the removal of subsidies on basic commodities

It is undoubtedly that the economic and social status of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon has increased in difficulty and complexity after a series of crises that they faced in Lebanon during the past and current period, the most important of which were:

1.The crisis caused by the former Minister of Labor against Palestinian workers in July 2018, and the arbitrary dismissal of many Palestinian workers caused by those measures and decisions.

2.The Lebanese protests on October 17th – October Revolution, which crippled the economic activity, caused work stoppage, exacerbated the economic and social status of the refugees.

3.The Coronavirus pandemic at the beginning of the year 2020 in Lebanon, which shattered every piece of hope for getting a job that would, at least, enhance the conditions for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

Despite the legal responsibility of UNRWA, especially during crises, it has undertaken timid steps, just like the one-time cash assistance, whose value does not exceed $ 20 for every person, as well as it was not recorded that UNRWA launched an urgent appeal to the international community, expressing the true reality.

The media recently reported that the Central Bank, in light of the decrease of foreign exchange reserves, has fears that it will not be able to continue supporting basic commodities (medicines, fuels, flour, wheat, sugar, rice ...) after the next three months. Proceeding from this, there are real risks facing Palestinian refugees in terms of their inability to purchase these goods mainly due to the difficult economic and social conditions. And unless there is a pre-emptive move, we are on the verge of a famine that will destroy what is remained from the structure of the Palestinian refugee community in Lebanon.

In light of the looming dangers, we in the Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness) call on UNRWA to assume its legal and moral responsibilities towards the refugees and to start its preemptive steps to confront this disaster through:

1.Launching urgent appeals to donors and the international community to secure emergency funding that would enable them to cover the basic needs of refugees.

2.Restoring the program of providing in-kind goods to all Palestinian refugees throughout the crisis period.

3.Call for holding an international donor conference to provide permanent financial and economic support to Palestinian refugees.

August 31, 2020

Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness)