Lebanon News

Lebanese travel documents hobble Palestinians

Travelers push their luggage at the Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Palestinian refugees face insulting measures at international airports because of their poor quality identification and travel documents issued by the Lebanese state, the Palestinian Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

“The Palestinian refugees’ identification cards and papers are still issued with horrible quality and short life,” the organization said in a statement. “They do not comply with the international standards followed by most of the world’s states.”

The statement revealed that the Lebanese government has not yet begun using printers to issue travel documents for Palestinians, and was using the same identification cards as from the 1950’s.

“They are issued in large sizes and are handwritten, while photos are pasted onto the paper instead of being electronically printed,” the statement said.

The poor quality of the travel documents has meant that security guards at international airports are detaining Palestinians for long durations to carry out checks on the documents, which sometimes leads to travelers missing their planes or "other indignities."

As a result, PHRW called on the Lebanese Interior Ministry to “end this humanitarian problem,” digitalize the documents of Palestinian refugees and mechanize their issuance.

“The Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee ... had prepared a study about the mechanization of these documents according to international standards,” PHRW explained, “but the project has not seen light.”





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