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Monday, July 2, 2012

Agreed internationally … revoked internationally: PRC’s Nasim Ahmed

Editing, re-reporting by Carolyn Bennett

Palestinian Return Centre senior researcher Nasim Ahmed told Press TV there is a campaign afoot to further devastate displaced Palestinian

U.S., UK decide fate of uprooted Palestinians

 The U.S. State Department deciding in 2013 the number of Palestinian refugees from 1948 and those who are the descendents of the original refugees is, Nasim Ahmed said, “another ploy to dissolve the rights of Palestinian refugees; and Britain is jumping on this bandwagon.”

But he says this flies in the face of international law. It is “contrary to everything that is understood under international law as to who is a refugee and who is not a refugee.” The definition of refugee promulgated by the primary refugee body of the United Nations, the UNHCR, “is that any refugee —from Afghanistan or Senegal or Liberia— if they are refugees, their descendents will continue to be refugees until their situation is resolved by their return or some kind of resolution of their situation in agreement with the refugees.”

This is the agreed definition under international law but the United States is somehow trying to go against that. This is an unspeakable cruelty that leaves thousands of people wandering homeless, stateless.

 Humanity discarded

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) provides assistance, protection and advocacy for some five million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight. But, Nasim Ahmed said

Palestinian refugees are simply not covered by UNRWA and there are also other classifications of refugees: those from 1967 and those who are continually being made refugees; there are 230,000 Palestinian homes that were demolished since 1967, which means an additional 150-200 thousand Palestinians who are not covered by UNRWA. 

Palestinians flee West Bank
The reason Palestinians are leaving the West Bank is that conditions under occupation are “intolerable.” Among the fleeing, this land’s brain drain, are people who are “highly educated, graduates, young people” seeing endlessly intolerable conditions under occupation in the next 10, 15, 20 years; and wanting something out of their lives. So they are fleeing.

Stateless in Norway, South America 

Refugees from Gaza flee settler violence in the occupied territory and find themselves in limbo in Norway. They cannot move freely, Nasim Ahmed said: “one of the points of being stateless is that when you’re seeking asylum, you’re not being allowed to leave the country until your status is somehow resolved.”

Stateless people can be forced out of Norway by the Norwegian government; but those who are stateless are prohibited from leaving “by their own accord. It would be extremely difficult for them,” he said. 

This situation was evident in images and reports emerging from the Arab Spring. Palestinians from Libya and Palestinians from Syria who are refugees from 1948 and living in exile are now being forced to neighboring countries. But they have nowhere to go. Some have fled to Brazil and some as far away as Argentina.

Being stateless means no country recognizes you.

“What is agreed internationally,” Nasim Ahmed concludes, “can only be revoked internationally: the rights of refugees, the rights of return.”

Sources and notes

“U.S., UK seek to dissolve Palestinian refugee rights,” July 2, 2012, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/07/02/249034/us-uk-seek-to-dissolve-palestinian-refugee-rights/

Nasim Ahmed is a senior researcher at the Palestine Returns Center. He says the United States and Britain “have attempted to rewrite the definition of a Palestinian refugee, going against the definition established by the United Nations.”

The Palestinian Return Centre specializes in the research, analysis, and monitoring of issues pertaining to the dispersed Palestinians and their internationally recognized legal right to return. It is an independent consultancy focusing on the historical, political and legal aspects of the Palestinian Refugees. The organization offers expert advice to various actors and agencies on the question of Palestinian Refugees within the context of the Nakba: The catastrophe following the forced displacement of Palestinians in 1948. The PRC also serves as an information repository on other related aspects of the Palestine question and the Arab-Israeli conflict. http://www.prc.org.uk/newsite/en/about-prc/prc-mission.html

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East http://www.unrwa.org/etemplate.php?id=47


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