The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) concluded a legal study on the Palestinian Refugees in Iraq. The study traces the desperate condition faced by Palestinian refugees in Iraq from their arrival after the Nakba and their recent expulsion, beginning in 2003. Palestinian refugees came to Iraq following their ethnic cleansing by Israeli forces in 1948 and in a second wave during 1967.
A special focus has been given on the effect of the 2003 American lead invasion of Iraq. The war lead to thousands of Palestinians fleeing to escape the sectarian violence which targeted Palestinians.
The study documents various attacks and violent actions carried against them by different sectarian militias.
The report follows their plight out from Iraq and into the desert refugee camps in Jordan, Syria and Iraq. The study presents the legal framework and grounds for defending their rights.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) declared that there were 34,000 Palestinians residing in Iraq prior the 2003 war. This number has diminished significantly due to sectarian violence. Most fled and sought refuge in make shift tents in the Syrian and Jordanian deserts before they were given another temporary resettlement.
Many were concentrated in four separate camps, Al-Waleed Refugee Camp, Al-Tanaf Refugee Camp, Al-Hol Refugee Camp, and Al-Ruweished Refugee Camp. Recent 2012 UNHCR studies estimate the remaining number of Refugees in Iraq are at best 10,000. Most reside in the capital, and another 210 or so in Al Waleed Camp in Al-Anbar governorate in Iraq.
UNHCR helped a number of families find temporary resettlement places as Israel denied them an entry to their homeland of Palestine. PRC lead delegations to inspect the conditions of the refugees. It also visited them in their place of refuge in places like Brazil, where again they were stuck in a desperate situation with no access to basic provisions and services.
The report concluded with a number of recommendations including:
1- Iraqi Government should protect Palestinian Refugees residing in its territories. It should also grant them residency permit as well as improving their social, security, and economic conditions. The Government should also stop any media campaigns against them and ease their freedom of movement from and into Iraq.2- Arab States should claim their responsibility to protect Palestinian Refugees in Iraq and help them solve their problems.
3- UNHCR should ensure that refugees resettled in other countries obtain basic health and social care.
4- If host countries like Brazil are unable to secure decent living conditions for those refugees, then UNHCR should find alternative temporary resettlement places.
5- UNHCR as well as host countries should attempt in reuniting the families of Palestinian Refugees.