The Palestinian Return Centre condemns in the strongest terms the new law recently passed by the Iraqi government which discriminates against Palestinians living in the country.
The Palestinian Return Centre calls on the international community to condemn this new legislation and apply strong pressure on the Iraqi government to respect its international obligations towards Palestinians.
Iraqi President Fuad Masum has repealed a law that previously granted Palestinians living in Iraq of all rights and privileges enjoyed since 1948.
Ministerial Resolution 202-2001 provided Palestinian refugees with all the benefits to which Iraqi nationals are entitled, except for obtaining Iraqi nationality. This law permitted Palestinian refugees to benefit from citizenship rights and access to various important sectors such as health, education and the right to work.
The repealing of this law puts Palestinians in Iraq among the category of foreign residents, denying them the previously conferred rights. The decision came into force after it was published in the Iraqi Official Gazette No. 4466.
Palestinian refugees have been residing in Iraq since the beginning of Nakba in 1948, due to the Arab -Israeli war which caused large scale displacement in the region. In 1967 a group of Palestinian refugees fled to Iraq and the last Palestinian refugees that fled to Iraq from the Gulf countries were in 1991 due to the Gulf war. Before the American invasion in 2003, the number of Palestinian refugees in Iraq was 42,000, according to the Palestinian Refugee Affairs in Iraq. Some 4,000 are now believed to reside in the country.