Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations held in its headquarters in Beirut a workshop entitled “The Needs and Conditions of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.”
The workshop, held on 10/4/2013, brought together a select of specialists and experts and those interested in the issue of Palestinian refugees. Participants discussed the developing conditions of Palestinian refugees in the three mentioned countries and tackled the reports and studies conducted on refugees and their social, educational and health needs, and their main priorities.
At the beginning of the workshop, al-Zaytouna General Manager Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh, welcomed the participants and presented the main points to be addressed. He asserted that holding the workshop was necessary in light of the developments and uprisings in the Arab world and their impact on the situation of the Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.
Dr. Saleh stressed that supporting Palestinian refugees is an essential duty of studies centers and professional organizations. They should participate in specifying the priorities and the problems the refugees face. He also pointed out to the severe shortage of modern scientific studies regarding the refugees’ conditions, the lack of accurate information, the chaos in defining related terms, and the confusion in specifying their needs and problems.
Dr. Saleh announced that al-Zaytouna will hold a conference in June 2013 to discuss comprehensively the refugees issue.
The participants discussed the social, legal, and political conditions of the Palestinian refugees and stressed the need to support their rights and needs. They also asserted the importance of coordination between specialized organizations, especially in the absence of a unified frame of reference, which made it difficult to specify the needs and priorities of Palestinian refugees.
The workshop cast light on the suffering of Palestinian refugees in Syria that was exacerbated by the developments there. More than half the refugees were displaced, thus making their problem a complicated one.
The participants also warned against turning Lebanon into a platform for displacing the Palestinian refugees from Syria, who also face discrimination by the Lebanese authorities.
The participants recommended the involvement of civil society, Palestinian factions, UNRWA, and Palestinian refugees displaced from Syrian in the conference to be organized in June by al-Zaytouna, with additional focus on the issue of humanitarian relief.
At the end of the workshop, Dr. Saleh thanked the participants, praising the discussion, hoping it would contribute to serving the issue of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, who have suffered a lot, and deserve our support, effort and time. He stated that the upcoming conference would be based on addressing the refugees’ needs, and serving them better, while maintaining the fundamentals, such as the identity and the right of return. He hoped the conference would come up with practical measures, instead of being a mere declaration of stances.