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Since the beginning of the Palestinian refugee crisis in Lebanon, Palestinian refugees have been facing tough living and social conditions that have accompanied them throughout their residence in the refugee camps and gatherings, scattered in most Lebanese regions

. Palestinian camps are a place of humanitarian misery, social deprivation, and urban chaos, coupled with poor and overcrowded residential buildings, unhealthy and difficult livelihood conditions, limited and low-quality basic services, inappropriate and harsh employment conditions, widespread and concealed unemployment, and many other social challenges that have been accumulated due to the legislative restraints on one hand, and to the lack of a State policy hence leaving the entire burden to UNRWA, on the other hand.

These difficult circumstances that Palestinians refugees are enduring in Lebanon were exacerbated after Palestinians fleeing Syria started taking refuge in Palestinian camps in Lebanon. To make matters worse, this problem was aggravated due to the presence of many Palestinians with no identification papers, which deepened the social, livelihood and humanitarian problems that Palestinians are facing in Lebanon, leading towards the emergence of security as one of the fundamental aspects around which these problems are centered.  

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are divided into three categories as follows:

 

      1.            Palestinian refugees registered with both UNRWA and the Lebanese authorities/ General Directorate of Political Affairs and Refugees (DPAR)

In principle, each person registered with UNRWA should be registered with the Directorate. Therefore, numbers and statistics should logically be matching with one another, at least during the beginning of the refugee crisis. Nevertheless, there were many discrepancies right from the start, caused by the chaos and confusion that arose from a deep shock at that time, in addition to the fact that the entire registration process was voluntary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.            Palestinian refugees registered with the Lebanese authorities/ General Directorate of Political Affairs and Refugees (DPAR), but not registered with UNRWA

Discrepancies in the registers are due to the fact that the Lebanese Government had registered Palestinians who sought refuge in Lebanon after the 1967 war, while UNRWA did not, given that some refugees had not been able to provide the necessary documents that proved their residence in Palestine prior to seeking refuge in Lebanon. Moreover, Lebanese authorities were registering Palestinians arriving to Lebanon for different reasons between 1948 and 1967 in the same manner. Other limited refugee influxes occurred in Lebanon in determined periods, such as in 1956 and 1970; and the people who sought refuge, during that period of time, were also not registered with UNRWA.

In addition, a good number of Palestinians, especially the wealthy, refused to register their names with UNRWA as refugees after 1948, thinking that their displacement was not going to last, and that they would return to their homes soon enough. Others thought they did not need the agency’s help, considering that the latter would place them in a social ranking lower than theirs. It is not unlikely that at least a part of those was included in the records of the Directorate.

 
 

      3.            Non-ID Palestinians

This designation describes a special category of the Palestinian refugees. The latter are registered with the DPAR at the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities, and their majority is also registered with UNRWA offices in other Arab countries, as refugees in these countries, and not as Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

This problem started to emerge with the 1967 war, and grew in the course of the September 1970 events in Jordan. It then expanded to include other categories that may be summarized under the following classifications:

ü  Category of people holding expired Jordanian travel papers that could not be renewed because their holders were being chased down by the Jordanian authorities.

ü  Category of people holding travel papers issued in the Gaza Strip, who could not return nor renew their travel papers.

ü  Category of students arriving from the West Bank, who could not return nor renew their papers, and have thus settled down in camps in Lebanon.

ü  Category of people who were enumerated by the PLO in Lebanon, holding identification papers or birth certificates issued by some Arab countries and were considered as individual cases.

These people were designated as the “undocumented Palestinians”, considering that most of them had lost their identification documents; or were holding papers that were expired, unrenewable or unrecognizable by the parties that had issued them, especially Egypt and Jordan. The GoL tried to negotiate with the concerned parties in Egypt and Jordan in order to resolve the problem, but in vain.

Therefore, the GoL took a temporary measure as of 2008, whereby it started granting ID Cards to undocumented Palestinians. These cards are issued free of charge by the General Directorate of General Security  to be used until the refugees obtain a passport from the Palestinian authority or from any other authority that would help them eliminate this designation.

In 2009, the Palestinian embassy in Lebanon carried out a census of this category of people and submitted a nominal register to the Lebanese authorities/LPDC. The number of individuals in this register amounted to 2979 persons, representing the undocumented Palestinians who are registered with the General Directorate of Political Affairs and Refugees. A number of 2790 persons out of the aforementioned number obtained temporary identification papers from the official Lebanese authorities.
 

ID cards for undocumented Palestinians:

- The period of this card is of one year, renewable in principle, but the latter process would require at least two months.

-The card shall not be automatically renewed. Its renewal is sometimes a discretionary decision, and is contingent upon the submission of an application containing all the documents that were requested in the first time. 
- A familial application for obtaining or renewing an identification card might be sometimes rejected or halted, in case one of the members of the family (such as the father) was a wanted criminal.

- The DPAR does not recognize this card for the registration of formalities relating to the basic rights and personal status, such as marriages, divorces, births and deaths.

- This card does not automatically grant its holder the right to work or to enroll in Lebanese schools, institutions, vocational institutes and universities. 

 
 
 
 

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