Palestinians Risks of Being Stateless Refugees
Statelessness: No United Nations Protection or any other form of protection
- Palestinian Refugees are the only refugees in the world to exist solely under the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and therefore outside the realm of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in their host countries. The consequence of this fact is one many do not comprehend. The Palestinian Refugees become sidelined and marginalized, without hope for any form of protection.
- For over 65 years, [Palestinian refugees;Updated] have been excluded from the international system for the protection of refugees.
- The lack of adequate assistance is only one of the failures of the international community towards Palestinian refugees living in UNRWA’s area of operation. Unlike other refugees, they are not protected by the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Both the 1951 Convention and the Statute of UNHCR exclude Palestinian refugees from international protection. Ironically, like the Lebanese law barring [Palestinian refugees] from owning property in Lebanon, the Convention and the Statute do not explicitly exclude Palestinian refugees; rather, they exclude anyone who receives assistance from other organs of the United Nations. Here again, Palestinian refugees find themselves singled out.
- Thus, because of their unique situation, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have been denied virtually every available means of securing their basic rights:
The exceptional condition of Palestinian statelessness and Palestinian dispersal extends itself to all political, economic, social and humanitarian spheres. UNRWA’s mandate does not provide protection for Palestinian refugees nor can they appeal to the assistance of UNHCR whose mandate specifically exempts them from its protection. This aberration is particularly significant, not only for refugees living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, but also for those Palestinian refugees who are temporary residents in various countries, mainly Lebanon, Syria and Jordan (1). Thus, UNRWA’s operations in these countries, the refugees’ legal status and their rights are subject to host government policies without recourse to international agreements delineating refugee rights.
2.1. Who are the Palestinian refugee claimants?
Palestinians who have claimed refugee status in Canada are stateless refugees whose parents and grandparents were expelled from their homes in Palestine in 1948 and who, for the past 56 years, have been living in extremely difficult conditions in refugee camps. These stateless Palestinian refugees fled the continued collective and individual persecution they faced, and sought the protection of Canada, in hopes of building a secure future. The Palestinian refugees in Canada are from the refugee camps in Lebanon and from the Occupied Territories. Although the refugee claimants consist of single men and women, as well as families, the great majority are young men ranging between the ages of 20-35 years of age.
2.1.1. Palestinians from the refugee camps in Lebanon
The majority of the Palestinian refugee claimants fled from different refugee camps in Lebanon. Most of them are from Ein El-Hilweh refugee camp in Saidon (South of Lebanon). Others came from Bourj Al-Barajneh, Shatila, Bourj Al-Shamali, Rashidiyeh, El-Bass, Baddawi and Nahr-el-Bared refugee camps.
Most of the Palestinians coming from Lebanon carry refugee travel documents issued by the Lebanese government. These documents are often stripped from them indiscriminately and unconditionally by the Lebanese government, thereby restricting their freedom of travel.
2.1.2. Palestinians from the Occupied Territories
Some of the Palestinian refugees have fled from the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. They have escaped from the atrocities committed daily by the Israeli army against them collectively and individually. The majority are from refugee camps in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while others come from cities such as Hebron and Nablus.
Most of the Palestinians coming from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip carry travel documents issued by the Palestinian Authority under strict inspection of the Israelis who control all border crossings into the Occupied Territories.
My name is Youssef El Loubani
I was born in Bourj el-Barajneh, a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. My family fled their homes in Palestine in 1948, and have lived for 55 years as refugees in Lebanon, without citizenship or human rights. I grew up stateless, in Bourj el-Barajneh refugee camp, under unbearable hardship, and I had to live every day of my life persecuted and discriminated against. As a Palestinian, I have no right to work in almost 80 professions, own or inherit property, access public education or healthcare, and travel freely.
As a child I lived through civil war, camp sieges and massacres. Our houses in the camps still bare the scars of the attacks, as they have not been reconstructed. We faced hunger many times, rarely sleeping as we were afraid of bomb attacks. During these times we were unable to go to the market as we were not allowed to leave the camp. We survived on what we had. When I was five years old, my family and I were in our house when a bomb exploded on the roof. Most of us were injured. I was injured near my heart and needed surgery and hospitalization….
The U.S. was unwilling to pressure Israel on the subject of returning refugees. Instead, it believed that the Palestinians could be syrianized, underestimating the importance of nationalism in the region and overestimating the extent to which local problems could be solved by money and offers of economic development. The primary motive of the Western powers in finding a solution to the Palestinian problem was their interest in organizing a Middle East defense plan to fight to Cold War and to contain the Soviet Union. Palestinians Refugee Problems: The Syrian Option
Generally, stateless individuals in the US with no legal status (i.e, they are ineligible for asylum status, withholding of removal, relief under the Convention against Torture) are quite vulnerable, though there are some procedural protections against indefinite detention. Stateless in the US
As Congress considers addressing some of the problems in the nation’s immigration system, the detention of noncitizens in the United States may be an issue as Congress may chose to reevaluate detention priorities (i.e., who should be detained) and resources. Under the law, there is broad
authority to detain aliens while awaiting a determination of whether the noncitizen should be removed from the United States. The law also mandates that certain categories of aliens are subject to mandatory detention (i.e., the aliens must be detained). Aliens subject to mandatory
detention include those arriving without documentation or with fraudulent documentation, those who are inadmissable or deportable on criminal grounds, those who are inadmissable or deportable on national security grounds, those certified as terrorist suspects, and those who have
final orders of deportation. Thousands of Palestinians in Indefinite Detention