Under the motto “Return is not an ideology, it is a legal right”, the festival was the biggest public event gathering Palestinian civil society organizations in recent years.
Palestine’s First World Refugee Day was organized by Badil, in collaboration with a dozen local Palestinian organizations and institutions. Although the official date of World Refugee Day is set by the United Nations to 20 of June, the event was delayed due to local high-school and university exams.
Najwa Darwish, Director of Badil, gave the keynote, highlighting the centrality of the Palestinian refugee problem, and the importance of commemoration World Refugee Day, aiming to raise awareness about the right of refugees to return to their homes and villages:
In collaboration with our partners, we decided to commemorate World Refugee Day with a clear goal to highlight and reemphasize the right of Palestinian refugees, in particular their right to return to their homes of origin. In this sense, Palestine’s First World Refugee Day as a cultural event differs from the traditional Nakba Day (15 May), since it reflects the Palestinians creativity in defending and advocating their rights, as well as confronting Israel’s ongoing policies aiming to displace the remaining Palestinians from their homeland.
The event achieved its declared goal of attracting the general public as well as local and international observers to a wide range of cultural activities: from folkloric dance to academic publications, from traditional food to an exclusive exhibition of historic Palestinian posters. The main activities on the stage included live music, poetry and folkloric dance.
BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights is an independent, community-based non-profit organization mandated to defend and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees and IDPs. Our vision, missions, programs and relationships are defined by our Palestinian identity and the principles of international law, in particular international human rights law. We seek to advance the individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people on this basis.
BADIL - Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Right
Karkafa St. (down from Bethlehem Hotel)
PO Box 728 , Bethlehem, West Bank , Palestine
Tel: +970-2-277-7086 - Tel/Fax: +970-2-274-7346