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The Palestinians Fleeing Syria Are Among the Most Vulnerable Refugees


World  (tags: Refugees, rights, support, Palestinians, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, israel, right of return, integration, resettlement )

Evelyn
- 1199 days ago - thenation.com
Criticizing resettlement in terms of its effect on the right of return would be analogous to Arab states' using the right of return to deny Palestinian refugees their basic human rights. Nothing should negate Palestinians' individual right of return.



   

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Evelyn B (63)
Sunday December 6, 2015, 3:19 pm
The Palestinians Fleeing Syria Are Among the Most Vulnerable Refugees

Their special legal status leaves them stateless, even after decades of exile, and without the same rights as other refugees.
By Mai Abu Moghli and Nael Bitarie
December 4, 2015

After the horrific terror attacks in Paris and Beirut and the downing of a Russian jetliner over the Sinai, as many as 31 US governors said Syrian refugees were unwelcome. By contrast, President Barack Obama called on world leaders to continue to accept refugees, saying that many “are victims of terrorism themselves.”

We agree. We recognize that these attacks will feed into a European—and indeed a global—sense of insecurity and vulnerability. But this is no time for the world to close the door to the refugees. We also believe that while much attention has rightly focused on the plight of Syrian refugees overall, we must pay special attention to the Palestinian refugees from Syria, who are among the most vulnerable: They are still stateless after decades in exile, and they have been denied rights granted to other refugees, including in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Turkey.

At the start of the Syrian conflict, there were 560,000 Palestinian refugees living in Syria. Those Palestinians who have fled Syria have seen their mobility and access to international protection curtailed, in part because of their special legal status under an exclusion clause in the 1951 UN convention on the status of refugees.

This special status has created an opportunity for discrimination. Because Palestinian refugees do not have the same rights under the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as other refugees from Syria in Middle Eastern countries, they live in constant fear of arrest and forced return to Syria.
For example, in 2013, the Jordanian government announced a non-entry policy for Palestinian refugees. Palestinians who fled Syria for Jordan cannot legally live in the refugee camps established for Syrians, nor do they have the legal right to earn money to rent other housing. Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour has justified Jordan’s restrictive policies as necessary to avoid absolving Israel of its responsibility to allow Palestinian refugees the right of return.

In Lebanon, as of May 2014, Syria-registered Palestinian refugees could only enter if they had documents for travel to a third country, limiting their stay to a maximum of nine hours. Restrictions on the ability of Palestinians from Syria to legally renew residency papers put the majority under the threat of arrest and deportation to Syria.

In Egypt, only Palestinian refugees are prevented from registering with the UNHCR, and thus cannot get residency permits, receive food vouchers, or medical assistance. Nor can they benefit from any other UNHCR services. Palestinians fleeing Syria for Egypt have been subjected to arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention or deportation, and collective expulsion.

And in Turkey, there are reports of Palestinian refugees from Syria being assaulted by border guards when trying to enter the country.

Meanwhile, Palestinian refugee camps in Syria have suffered significant shelling, destruction, and massive displacement of their populations as a result of the conflict. Yarmouk camp, for example, has been under siege since 2012, yet no aid has been allowed in for months. In addition, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), established after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, has not been able to distribute food aid to areas surrounding the camp since June of this year.

Given the harsh realities they face, an increasing number of Palestinian refugees from Syria are opting, alongside their Syrian counterparts, to continue on to Europe. Many are paying exorbitant fees to smugglers and human traffickers. Their routes by sea or overland are treacherous, and they face the risk of being turned back by border guards.

The US- and Russia-led talks in Vienna have come up with a transition plan to the Syria conflict. But there is clearly no immediate solution for the millions of refugees who have fled the Syrian conflict. Indeed, in the midst of the crisis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed revoking the IDs of between 80,000 and 100,000 Palestinians from Jerusalem. He would thus add to the Palestinian injustice lived since 1948, when Israel’s creation forced over 700,000 Palestinians out of their country, many of whom found refuge in Syria.

Arab states and Turkey need to stop using the right of return as an excuse to deny the Palestinian refugees fleeing atrocities in Syria their basic rights and must comply with the international obligation of non­refoulement (no forced return to the country of origin). European and other Western states could help facilitate their resettlement to third countries. Criticizing resettlement in terms of its effect on the right of return would be analogous to Arab states’ using the right of return to deny Palestinian refugees their basic human rights. Neither local integration in the country of residence nor resettlement in a third country negates Palestinians’ individual right of return to their homeland.

As the representative of the Palestinian people, the Palestine Liberation Organization has a responsibility to intervene on behalf of Syria’s Palestinians, at the very least making a more vigorous diplomatic effort to help ensure their protection and find solutions to their plight. Last but not least, the international community must put pressure on the Israeli government to shoulder the responsibility for the tragedy it created and to implement UN Resolution 194, which recognizes the right of Palestinians to return to their homeland.

Mai Abu Moghli Mai Abu Moghli is a policy member of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. She is a Palestinian human rights activist and PhD candidate at the Institute of Education, University College London.

Nael Bitarie Nael Bitarie is a policy member of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. Nael, a Palestinian Syrian, serves as a board member at Jafra Foundation and has been working with refugees since 2004.
 

Kathleen M (210)
Sunday December 6, 2015, 3:27 pm
Sadly shared and noted. Thanks, Evelyn. Those poor folks can't catch a break anywhere on Earth! Sheesh!
 

Wilde Thange (10)
Sunday December 6, 2015, 4:43 pm
The gloom of the unknown refugee with no home and no tomb to rest in.
 

Rose B (141)
Sunday December 6, 2015, 8:35 pm
well said Rilde
 

Darren Woolsey (218)
Monday December 7, 2015, 1:07 pm
Shared everywhere to spread awareness.

I should think they've seen enough bad experience to last several lifetimes.
 

Erika Acosta (0)
Monday December 7, 2015, 9:42 pm
Thanks
 

fly bird (26)
Tuesday December 8, 2015, 1:08 pm
Thanks for sharing this important article.
 

Gillian M (11)
Tuesday December 8, 2015, 2:02 pm
Syria, amongst the few Muslim controlled countries that allowed Palestinians in, refused them the right to be a citizen in that country despite international law requiring them to. I see no objections from any of the Judeophobes here. Then these same countries treat the Palestinians with apartheid. I see no objections from the Judophobes. Those refugees from Syria were refused access to Gaza or Judea/Samaria by Abbas back in 2013. Silence from the Judeophobes.

Kuwait threw their Palestinians out from their country during the First Gulf War and there was silence from the Judeophobes. Many of them had missing family members believed held in jail but the Kuwaitis refuse to speak to any family with a missing member and, despite this happening over 25 years ago, they still don't know if they are alive or dead. Still silence from the Judeophobes.

In summary, it is fine for Muslim controlled countries to ill treat, abuse, allow apartheid and break international law where Palestinians are concerned. It is fine for Abbas to abuse his own people and to refuse access to other Palestinians. And it's fine for Judeophobes to be silent on the subject because Israel isn''t involved.

Strange that.

So, here we have proof that the Judeophobes are rabid anti-Semites who fail to care about the welfare of Palestinians except as an excuse to abuse Israel. And the international definition of anti-Semitism is to blame Israel for something that other countries do.

 

Evelyn B (63)
Tuesday December 8, 2015, 4:04 pm
Some people - predictably - don't read articles before commenting
:>D

"Arab states and Turkey need to stop using the right of return as an excuse to deny the Palestinian refugees fleeing atrocities in Syria their basic rights and must comply with the international obligation of non­refoulement (no forced return to the country of origin)"
 

Jonathan Harper (0)
Thursday December 10, 2015, 12:21 am
NOTED!
 
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