London, 4 March 2021
The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) has called upon the international aid community to include Palestinian refugees, who are in particular need of a lifeline, in its immediate emergency response.
In an oral contribution delivered at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, PRC stressed the need to ensure that Palestinian refugees continue receiving much-needed cash assistance so they can buy food and stay safe.
PRC’s representative Farah Qteinah, who spoke via videoconference, as part of Agenda Item 2 of the 46th session of the UNHRC, sounded the alarm over the striking upsurge in poverty rates in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
PRC said that the situation has been exacerbated by the catastrophic explosion in the port of Beirut which has plunged Lebanon in the most serious existential crisis of its recent history, and comes on the heel of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s health and livelihoods. The aftermath of the blast has hit the vulnerable communities in Lebanon the hardest, sinking people such as Palestine refugees further into despair.
Referring to the latest figures by UNRWA, PRC said that 65% of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live in poverty. Nearly 300,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are in need of UNRWA emergency cash assistance. They live in the country’s 12 refugee camps, where conditions are dire and characterized by overcrowding, poor housing, unemployment, poverty and lack of access to justice.
The huge financial and economic challenges that are sweeping across the country along with the lockdown measures caused by COVID-19 stripped Palestine refugees from the meager access they had to employment opportunities, it added.
PRC said that urgent action should be made in order to boost the economic recovery and livelihoods for Palestine refugees and help them claim the same rights as other foreigners living and working in Lebanon.