Palestinian refugee and IDP rights

Palestinian refugee and IDP rights at the Human Rights Council of the OHCHR and the Executive Committee meeting of the UNHCR

Badil Resource Center submitted two statements to the sixth session of the Human Rights Council, held in Geneva between 10-28 September 2007.

 Badil side-meeting at the UN Human Rights Council
entitled “The Question of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons -60 Years of Nakba-
Time for a Rights-based Solution to the Largest and Most Protracted Refugee Case in the World”,
28 September 2007. (©BADIL)

In its first statement, Badil emphasized the lack of protection of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, who have bore the brunt of the conflict in Nahr al-Bared camp. During the conflict in Nahrel-Bared camp, which began on 20 May 2007, dozens of civilians were killed and 6,083 Palestinian refugee families (over 30,000 persons) internally displaced. This latest displacement highlights the vulnerability of Palestinian refugees in exile in Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere and the forced multiple displacements of these stateless refugees.

  The camp has also sustained extensive damage. Badil believes that the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared should be done in consultation with the residents of the camp and based on respect for their status and rights as Palestinian refugees.

Badil called upon the Human Rights Council to follow the situation of internally displaced Palestinian refugees in Lebanon in order to ensure that their rights are protected, including their right to return to their homes of origin.

Badil also recommended that the Council commission a special study on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and the 60th commemoration of the Nakba in May 2008 on the obstacles to the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes of origin and property restitution.

In its second statement, Badil highlighted the dire humanitarian and economic situation in the occupied Gaza Strip since the hermetic closure of the territory in June. As a result of this crisis, that could have been averted through the opening of borders, 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, most of whom are 1948 refugees, are today nearly 100% dependent on international humanitarian assistance. Badil called on all actors not to allow political considerations to jeopardize the fundamental rights of Palestinians, especially of those living in the occupied Gaza Strip.

The statement also alerted the Council to the growing number of internally displaced persons in the OPT, which by the end of 2006 was estimated at 115,000 persons, and to the recent displacement of the al Hadidiya community in the Jordan Valley.

Badil called upon members of the Council to consider urging state members of the UN to take measures such as economic sanctions and diplomatic boycott against Israel for its breach of international law and non-implementation of UN Resolutions, as well as the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on The Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Between 1-5 October, Badil attended the NGO Consultations and the 58th Executive Committee (Excom) meeting of UNHCR. In two NGO statements, one on the general debate and the other on internal protection, over 270 NGOs reminded state members of Excom that “Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) constitute the largest and longest-standing unresolved caseload of refugees and displaced persons in the world today” and “urge the international community to increase efforts to findvoluntary durable solutions to their plight [...], including local integration, resettlement and voluntary repatriation.”

The critical situation of Palestinian refugees in and from Iraq was also the subject of great concern. NGOs recognized the generosity of Syria and Jordan, who are hosting thousands of refugees from Iraq, and called upon states to pursue their efforts to ensure that the approximately 13,000 Palestinian refugees “in al-Tanf, al-Walid, and al-Hul camps on the border with, and inside, Syria...are provided with temporary protection, and access to durable solutions, including local integration, resettlement, and voluntary repatriation.” NGOs recommended that “in cooperation with UNHCR, all Palestinian refugees from Iraq should be registered with the UN Relief and Works Agency as a matter of high priority.” A special request was also made to UN country teams to mobilize and to Resident Coordinators and the Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq to make their response to “the needs of Iraqi and Palestinian refugees a top priority.”

 Amnesty International denounces systematic discrimination of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

Amnesty International (AI) published a new report on the systematic discrimination faced by Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. AI denounces the “appalling social and economic conditions” and “ghettoization” of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. AI found that Palestinians are being denied their basic rights, including the right to housing, work, health, education, registration and identification document, and freedom of movement. AI encourages the government of Lebanon to take concrete actions to address the marginalization of Palestinian refugees and recommends that the “continuing restrictions on Palestinian refugees, which effectively renders them the status of second class residents, continue to be little short of a scandal and they should be lifted without further procrastination or delay.”

Amnesty notes that for 60 years, “the international community has excluded Palestinians from the international system set up to protect refugees” and that “Israel and the international community have also failed to find an adequate, durable and sustainable solution, consistent with international law.” The organization further calls upon the international community to “make all necessary efforts to find a durable solution for Palestinian refugees that fully respects and protects their human rights, including their right to return.”

For more, read Lebanon: Exiled and suffering: Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Amnesty International, 17 October 2007. Available at: