Lebanon : Palestinians refugees in Lebanon: Prospects and Constraints for NGO Action

Context:

According to a survey of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine refugees (UNWRA), there are about 326,000 registered Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Others are not registered, as all those who arrived after the closing of the registration list in the early 50s and those who came after the occupation of the Gaza Strip by Israel in 1967. If half of the refugees live in one of 11 camps, they do not necessarily have a better standard of living. And the situation is worse for the Palestinians displaced by conflicts. Still according to UNRWA, in 1991 there were already 6,000 displaced families, without the right to camp. Palestinian refugees have no civil rights in Lebanon, making it difficult their subsistence, and the government pressure on them to emigrate.

Objectives:

  • To organize a consultation with Palestinian NGOs working in Lebanon, Palestinian NGOs working in Occupied Territories, the Lebanese government, international agencies working in Lebanon and UNWRA;
  • To organize a meeting in Amman (Jordan), with the participation of all key actors, in the purpose of exchanging strategies, experiences and identifying common concepts for future actions, debating issues regarding development and relief policies, debating the rights issues and formulating working hypothesis to tackle this question and formulating alternative regional strategies to address these issues.

Achievements:

  • The consultation took place with a large number of organizations and the meeting took place in Amman;
  • A comprehensive analysis of the situation has been produced, discussed and shared with Canadian, Lebanese and Palestinian agencies;
  • A follow up committee has been created by Palestinian groups to launch an international campaign on issue on refugees. This outcome of the workshop might be, on long run, one of the very central contributions to Canadian NGOs to the peace process in the Middle East;
  • Canadian and international agencies in Europe and in the United-States have agreed to make on the issue as one priority in advocacy work for Palestinian rights. The Middle East Working Group for example followed up with a major symposium on Palestinian refugees in June.

Duration: December 1994-May 1995

Year: 
1994 - 1995
Locations: 
Lebanon