PRC raises awareness of plight of Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria and Gaza at 4th International Crime and Punishment Film Festival in Istanbul
This week the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) participated in the 4th “International Crime and Punishment Film Festival” held in Istanbul from 7th – 13th November. The conference was organised by the Faculty of Law at Istanbul University and this year explored the topic of migration.
The Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs, UNHCR, UNICEF, international organisations such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), think tanks, NGOs as well as academics were invited to present on a range of issues related to migration and engage in a discussion of these issues.
PRC took part in the festivals academic programme in a panel dedicated to the Palestinian refugee situation titled “Innate Refugee: The Unique Adventure of Palestinian People”. Panel members presented papers addressing issues relating to the uniqueness of the Palestinian refugee situation.
PRC took this opportunity to raise awareness of the plight of Palestinian refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria and the recent Israeli bombardment of Gaza using field research undertaken by the Centre since the Syrian conflict began in 2011.
PRC, represented by researcher Sahdya Darr, spoke about the treacherous journeys being made by Palestinian refugees across the sea to Europe in particular the inhumane conditions Palestinian refugees are subjected to and how as the largest stateless community in the world who legal status is precarious their vulnerability is heightened making them more susceptible to exploitation by smugglers.
Darr emphasized the need for the international community to tackle the ongoing suffering of Palestinian refugees by providing them with protection and assistance and developing an international mechanism to implement the right of return as enshrined under international law.
Audience members showed great interest in the presentations made on the Palestinian refugee situation and asked a number of pertinent questions including the feasibility of giving the right of return to the 11.8 million Palestinians in the diaspora to the significance of the recent votes by Sweden and the UK to recognise a Palestinian state and who feels like a refugee Palestinians in the diaspora or those Palestinians living in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). These questions and many more were answered by panel members.