The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), in partnership with the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) lead a delegation comprising of British MPs and EU MEPs to the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. The delegation arrived to Lebanon on Sunday the 6th Feb 2011 visited refugee camps and met senior officials.
Led by Sir Gerald Kaufman MP, the delegation included, Michael Connarty MP,Jeremy Corbyn MP, Frank Engel MEP, Robert Goebbels MEP, Nicolette Petersen (office of Jeremy Corbyn MP), Alexandra Thein MEP and Derek Vaughan MEP. General Director of PRC, Majed Al Zeer and chair of CEPR, Dr Arafat Shoukri.
An important meeting took place with Michel Suleiman, Lebanon's President. Both parties focused on the dire conditions in the refugee camp. President said that Lebanon does its utmost to help the Palestinians refugees. Later they met with Lebanese prime minister designate, Najib Mikati and representative of Speaker of the house Nabihb Beri. The meetings also highlighted the issue of Palestinian refugees seeking more support and improvement for the services they receive from the Lebanese state.
Members of the delegation met with caretaker prime minster, Saed Al Hariri, where both parties discussed the current conditions that Palestinians face in light of the lack of their basic civil rights.
During the two day trip the delegation paid visits to Palestinian refugees in Burj Al Barajna, Nahar al Bared and Shatila camps. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon face some of the most difficult challenges of all refugees and this was a good opportunity to see firsthand conditions in the camps and the level of support that is required for restoration work and to meet basic living requirements. They also met with head of UNRWA’s middle Beirut branch, Muhamad Khalid and vice president of Al Ghabiri municipality in Shatila camp. The delegation members also visited Shatila camps which was the scene of bloody massacre in 1982. Sir Gerald Kaufman MP expressed deep sorrow for the terrible conditions facing the refugees. He said, “I’m a shamed to see these horrible scenes”. The delegation also met with Thabit, an organization which campaigns towards implementing the right of return for Palestinians.