On the occasion of the 67th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 194, Palestinian refugees continue to lack the comprehensive protection afforded to them by this resolution and to suffer from ongoing population transfer and secondary displacement. Over 7.2 million Palestinian refugees are scattered around the world, many of them suffering from forced secondary displacement. More than 720,000 Palestinians are internally displaced on both sides of the Green Line, while many others are in risk of displacement as a result of Israel’s ongoing policies of forced population transfer. 67 years after the UNGA passed Resolution 194, inalienable Palestinian rights, including the right of refugees to reparations (return to their homes of origin, property restitution, compensation and non-repetition) continue to be denied.
BADIL chose this occasion to launch its latest edition of the Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons through a Press Conference. The event took place in the Red Crescent Society’s headquarters in Ramallah and was attended by different media outlets, international and Palestinian human rights organizations, UN agencies, Representative Offices and civil society organizations.
BADIL presented the main findings of the Survey, which explores substantive elements of displacement – particularly methods employed in the historic and contemporary displacement of Palestinians, the latest demographic and socio-economic data of Palestinian refugees, as well as the international framework of protection for refugees in general, and Palestinian refugees in particular.
Nonetheless, the main focus was on the results of an Opinion Poll carried out by BADIL in March-April 2015, addressing the perceptions and knowledge of international protection of over 3,000 Palestinian refugees living in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan and Lebanon.
The data gathered through the questionnaire shows that most refugees do not have a complete knowledge of the international protection they are entitled to and many refugees are not familiar with the actors responsible for providing this protection. The Opinion Poll results also show the main protection shortages that Palestinian refugees suffer from in UNRWA camps, lack of humanitarian assistance, political discrimination and lack of equal job opportunities being the main ones in all the four areas. BADIL also tackled the perceptions of Palestinian refugees regarding the effectiveness of actors such as UNRWA, the host country or the PLO in dealing with these protection shortages.
The Survey also contains data regarding refugee perceptions regarding their involvement in designing, implementing and evaluating the services UNRWA provides in their refugee camps. The majority of refugees do not feel involved in these processes, especially in Jordan.
Finally, BADIL presented the views of Palestinian refugees regarding their preferred paths to a durable solution. The results illustrate a shared belief among Palestinian refugees in the need to invest in alternative means that force Israel to comply with international law, to end Israeli impunity. They also believe in Palestinians actively pursuing their own entitlements as opposed to waiting for others to pursue them on their behalf.
BADIL ended the conference with a set of recommendations directed at the international community states, UN bodies and agencies, and civil society organizations. The recommendations include adopting and supporting rights-based durable solutions as a long-term strategy; ensuring effective protection of Palestinian refugees, IDPs and those at risk of forced displacement in Palestine and host countries; and including the Palestinian refugee and IDP communities in the process of ensuring effective protection, crafting solutions and identifying protection gaps.
This edition, therefore, provides stakeholders, duty bearers, academia and researchers with a rich resource and, in outlining the situation and framework as it currently operates, unveiling its flaws, and exploring the impact of these failings on Palestinian refugees themselves, contributes to an international law-based approach to the protection of Palestinian refugees.
To get your hard copy of the Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons 2013-2015, please contact us at: [email protected]