Lebanon News

Lebanon’s Palestinians face worst conditions in region

BEIRUT: The living conditions of Palestinians in Lebanon’s camps are the worst in the region, an international nongovernmental organization working in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan said Wednesday.

“The Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are considered the worst of the region’s refugee camps in terms of poverty, health, education and living conditions,” said the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) in a report released on World Refugee Day.

ANERA cites discrimination, isolation, poverty, joblessness, poor housing and a lack of infrastructure as the main problems affecting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

“Lebanon has the highest percentage of Palestinian refugees living in extreme poverty. Two out of three Palestinian refugees subsist on less than $6 a day,” the report said.

More than 450,000 Palestinians are registered in Lebanon with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, though the actual number is estimated at between 260,000 and 280,000, ANERA said.

Most Palestinians live in the country’s 12 official refugee camps, in squalid conditions.

“Palestinian refugees in Lebanon do not enjoy several basic human rights, for example, they do not have the right to work in as many as 20 professions,” UNRWA adds, noting that most refugees rely on U.N. assistance for survival.

ANERA’s report was released days after three Palestinians were killed in separate clashes with the Lebanese Army – two in Nahr al-Bared camp in North Lebanon, and one in Ain al-Hilweh near the city of Sidon.

“Palestinians in Lebanon are treated like a security problem, not as human beings with rights,” a Nahr al-Bared camp resident told AFP.

“We thank Lebanon for hosting us through all these years, but I don’t understand why we need to be deprived of all our rights,” said 43-year-old Ziad Shtewi.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 21, 2012, on page 4.




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