Residents of Syria’s besieged Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp collecting aid, Feb. 13, 2015. Without passports, the refugees have no place to go. (Rami Al-Sayed / AFP / Getty Images)
On the International Human Solidarity Day (IHSD), annually observed by the United Nations on December 20, a London-based human rights monitor called on the international community to take urgent action in order to provide the Palestinians of Syria with the physical and legal protection they quite urgently need at such a critical time.
The International Human Solidarity Day (IHSD), observed on December 20, is an international annual unity day of the United Nations and its member states introduced by the general assembly during the 2005 World Summit. It was established on December 22, 2005 by resolution 60/209.
The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) said that Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan, among other destinations, continue to launch cries for help over the precarious legal status and lack of protection they have been subjected to. Most of them have been grappling with deportation concerns and living in a perpetual fear over their families’ safety due to the security mayhem rocking the region.
Palestinians from Syria have also been denied humanitarian asylum in several destinations, including Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and others, which represents a flagrant violation of international human rights law, added the group.
Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”
AGPS also urgeed the Palestinian Authority and its diplomatic missions to work on lifting movement sanctions on Palestinian refugees in host countries, as decreed by international humanitarian law.
After ten years of conflict, Palestine refugees continue to be one of the most vulnerable groups in Syria with immense humanitarian needs.
Over 90 per cent of Palestine refugee households in Syria live in poverty and 40 per cent remain in protracted displacement as a result of conflict and the damage and destruction of their homes.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said in its 2020 Syria regional crisis emergency appeal that 126,000 Palestine refugees in Syria (PRS) are identified as extremely vulnerable; 89% live in poverty; 91% live in extreme poverty; and 80% rely on UNRWA cash assistance as their main source of income.
UNRWA also said that 55% of PRS do not possess valid legal residency documents; 100% of PRS are in need of winterization assistance; and 86% of PRS households are reported to be in debt.