LEBANON REJECTS PALESTINIAN REFEGUEES
16 mayo, 2014
The fate of 41 Palestinian refugees doesn’t concern the Lebanese government, sending them back to Syria, even if they entered their country legally.
On May 4th the Lebanon’s General Security deported the Palestinian refugees after hours of arrest and interrogation at Beirut International Airport to the Syrian border checkpoints at the Masnaa. Some refugees stood there to wait for an entry permit of another country; others went back to Syria with an unknown fate. On the same day the government revoked Palestinian refugees to get inside their country.
‘‘They didn’t explain anything to us – why they were detaining us and where they were taking us’’, remembered a 21-year-old Palestinian refugee from the Yarmouk camp. ‘‘We had women and children with us and one was pregnant.’’ He and the other refugees didn’t have another opportunity than returning back to Syria. Lebanese authorities reported them to have false visas to enter Libya.
By December 2013, the total number of refugees in Lebanon was about 1 million, 50,000 of them were Palestinians. Others came from Sudan, Iraq and various places around the world.
When Palestinians enter the Lebanon they have to pay a fee of $230 per head to the Lebanon’s General Security every three month. If they can’t pay they have to go back to Syria, but many try to stay illegally in Lebanon. However, if Syrian refugees come to Lebanon they are allowed to stay without any payment. Also Syria’s other neighbour countries deny Palestinian refugees the entry.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) rejects the deportation and has requested foreign governments to help out Beirut in this precarious situation. ‘‘The Lebanese government is bearing an incomparable burden with the Syrian refugees crossing its borders, but blocking Palestinians from Syria is mishandling the situation’’, said HRW’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director, Joe Stork. The journalist MetwaliAbu Nasser assumes that the deportation took place as a part of a governmental campaign to stop the entry of more refugees to Lebanon.
Contrarily, The Israeli press has attacked the Palestinian refugees and addressed them as ‘‘descendants of Arab residents who left Israel prior to the 1948 founding of the modern state”. The paper not just denounced them as ‘‘Palestinian refugees’’, but also spread the information that the conflict with Palestinian refugees got more attention than the Jewish refugees forced to flee from Arab lands around the time of the establishment of Israel.
The International community is concerned about the actions in Lebanon and censures them as several right groups as well. Lebanon has not signed the Refugee Convention in 1951 , although it has signed many other human rights treaties which are relevant to the protection of refugees.
‘‘Refugees have the right to protection; forced deportation is a violation of that right’’, a spokeswoman for Frontiers , a Lebanon-based NGO defending rights and public freedom, noticed . The precarious situation of the Palestinians is furthered by their position as stateless people of whom governments rarely take care. The problem is facing right now because the occurring war in Syria is highlighting the hazard situation of the Palestinians.