Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|11/28/01 at 10:49:06|
Hi, I compiled this today as part of a project I'm working on and
thought it might come in handy for you or someone you know at some point. Those of you working primarily on South West Asia might want to take a look at the entire United Nations Charter --for some real hilarity. Now I know why a friend wrote that it was obsolete the day it was written.
The Right of Return, Resistance, & Self-Determination
Selected Documentation of International Resolutions and Declarations on the Palestinian Refugees and Related Issues.
1. Charter of the United Nations, entered into force 24 October 1945:
Among the purposes of the UN Charter as outlined in Chapter One, article 1 is "to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of
peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;"
2. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13: (1) Everyone
has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
[Adopted and Proclaimed by the United Nations on 10 December 1948. Israel signed the declaration.]
3. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194. Date: 11 December
1948. Subject: Palestine. Relevant passages: Paragraph 11 "…Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest
practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.
["The UN General Assembly] instructs the Conciliation Commission
(France, Turkey, & the United States) to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees
and payment of compensation…"
4. Fourth Geneva Convention: Adopted on 12 August 1949 and entered
into force on 21 October 1950. Israel is a signatory to this convention, which has the same legal status as a treaty. As
such, the signatories are considered high contracting parties and are
therefore in breach of the treaty when refusing to enforce its provisions.
Israel is in violation of, among others, the following articles
(pertaining to Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories both as refugees and permanent residents).
Section III. Occupied Territories.
*Article 47: Establishes that persons in the Occupied Territories
must be not be deprived of the protections laid down in the Geneva Convention; i.e. the protections granted to victims of war.
*Article 49: Prohibits under all circumstances deportations,
individual or mass forcible transfers to other countries. Additionally, and significantly, article 49 states that the
Occupying power [Israel] shall not transfer parts of its own civilian population [Israelis] into the territory it occupies. This renders all
Jewish settlements illegal.
1. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 446 of 22 March 1979 reaffirms that the Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories (including the Golan Heights) "have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive,
just and lasting peace in the Middle East;" It also calls on Israel as an occupying power to abide by the 4th Geneva Convention and to desist from taking any action that would change the legal status or the demographic make-up of the Occupied Territories including Jerusalem. The UN Security Council adopts a similar resolution on 20
*Article 50: Forbids the shutting down of educational
institutions in the Occupied Territories (elementary and secondary schools; trade schools; colleges and universities).
*Article 53: Forbids the destruction of people's homes, land,
property, crops, and social or cooperative community organizations.
*Article 76: Makes it illegal to detain people accused of offences in
Israel (i.e. they must remain in the Occupied Territories their own land). They must be given food and hygiene necessary to ensure
proper health; They must receive medical attention if necessary; they
have the right to receive any religious or spiritual assistance; Minors must be treated with proper regard; Women shall be confined
in separate quarters and supervised by other women; and delegates of
a protecting power or of the International Committee of the Red Cross have the right to visit all detainees.
5. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2727 of 5 December
1970. Item (2): "Calls upon the Government of Israel immediately…to comply with its obligations under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the relevant resolutions adopted by the various international organizations."
6. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3236 of 22 November
1974, "The Question of Palestine". (1) "Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine, including, (a) The right to self-determination without external interference; (b) The right to national independence and sovereignty;"
(2) "Reaffirms also the inalienable right of the Palestinians to
return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return;"
(3) "Emphasizes that full respect for and the realization of these
inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are indispensable for the solution of the question of Palestine;"….
(5) "Further recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to regain
its rights by all means in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations;"
7. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 42/159 of 7 December
1987: Authorizes the right of peoples living under occupation to resist that occupation and to seek and receive support of outside parties.
This is highly significant for us today as it means that those groups
that have resisted Israeli occupation in the past (such as Hizbullah in Lebanon), and those groups that continue to resist Israeli
occupation in the present (such as Islamic Jihad, Hamas, the PFLP,
the DFLP, Fatah, and others) are legitimate resistance movements rather than "terrorist" organizations. Offensive actions
such as suicide bombings against civilians, however, are considered
illegitimate means of resistance, i.e. criminal acts of aggression.
8. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 51/124 of December
1996: "Notes with regret that repatriation or compensation of the refugees, as provided for in paragraph 11 of its resolution 194…has not yet been effected and that, therefore, the situation of the refugees continues to be a matter of concern;"
9. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 51/126 of 13 December
(1) Reaffirms the right of all persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities to return to their homes or former places of residence in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.
(2) Expresses the hope for an accelerated return of displaced persons
through the mechanism agreed upon by the parties in article XII of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements; and
(3) Endorses…the efforts of the…United Nations Relief and Works
Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to continue to provide humanitarian assistance…"
10. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 51/129 of 13 December
(1) "Reaffirms that the Palestine Arab refugees are entitled to their
property and to the income derived therefrom, in conformity with the principles of justice and equity;"
(2) "Requests the Secretary-General to take all appropriate steps, in
consultation with the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, for the protection of Arab property, assets and property
rights in Israel and to preserve and modernize these existing
(5) "Urges the Palestinian and Israeli sides, as agreed between them,
to deal with the important issue of Palestine refugees' properties and their revenues in the framework of the final status negotiations of the Middle East peace process."
11. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 52/114 of 52nd
Session, 1997: Affirms, yet again, the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
Many other resolutions pertaining to Palestine and Israel exist and
should be examined for a comprehensive study of the international legal dimensions of the conflict.
|12/14/01 at 01:02:46|
as salaamu alaykum,
email I received recently..
Geneva Convention censures Israel for human rights violations:
Anti-Defamation League responds to the convention by issuing a
defending Israel's terrorist campaign:
|01/24/02 at 16:08:28|
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 07:13:55 -0500
From: "Zahi Damuni" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: 2002 Review: Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
From: Ghassan Abdallah,
General Executive Coordinator
Palestinian Human Rights Organization-Rights (P.H.R.O.)
Member of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network(EMHRN)
e-mail: PHRO@PalHuamnRights.org & PHRO@PalHumanRights.com
P.O.Box:114/5004 Beirut, Lebanon
2002: A review of the status of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
1- Facts and numbers.
UNRWA's 2001 numbers claim that the total number of Palestinian
Lebanon is 382,973, 56% of whom reside in 12 camps distributed on
The PLO and the Lebanese government raise this number to around
allowing roughly a 33,000 UNRWA unregistered refugees. Half of those
Refugees were Red Cross Registered only before Lebanese authorities
to recognize them; the thing that UNRWA hasn't done yet. The second
was registered by orders of former Interior Minsters (between
Furthermore, a third category of refugees is unaccounted for by neither
UNRWA nor the Lebanese government. This category includes around
(estimates of popular camp committees) Palestinians who do not have any
of ID's. Consequently, those are denied the right of work, travel,
registering in educational institutions, legal marriage, buying
2- Historical Background.
The status of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon has certain intrinsic
properties unique to the Lebanese host and that are distinct from
in other host countries.
Historically speaking, Lebanon has been established on the basis of a
delicate and sensitive religious / sectarian balance.
Any disturbance of this balance can easily set the fuse to the entire
demographic mosaic in Lebanon. Such disturbances have been cited as
underlying causes of the 20-years civil war. The Palestinian presence
widely considered as a disturbing factor for such critical balance.
Thus doubts and caution among Lebanese officials and part of the public
lead to policies and laws aiming at marginalizing the Palestinian
politically, economically and socially in order to prevent their
in the Lebanese mosaic.
Such policies and laws has bred enmity towards Palestinians and severed
connections between Lebanese and Palestinian communities. To make
worse, consecutive Lebanese governments have treated the Palestinian
a security problem rather than a Humanitarian crisis. Camps in which
majority of Palestinians live are considered as out-law islands; and
refugees are considered as unwelcome guests.
The most disturbing part is the growing trend to trace the reasons for
20-years civil war to the Palestinian presence in Lebanon by magnifying
Palestinian role in that war. Hence the refugees are expected to pay
Such pressures, when applied on the refugees community that was
by Israeli invasion, Sabra & Chatila massacres and «War on the Camps»
all put Palestinians under the threat of a new exodus. This feeling is
aggravated by the daily provocative hatred campaigns launched by some
Lebanese Politicians and media and some groups with sectarian
against the Palestinian presence.
3- Lebanese Policy.
In short, Lebanese authorities policies lead to goading Palestinian
to destitution making them ready to pack their luggage and leave to the
first country that accepts them. Ironically, all Human Rights
mentioned below are committed by Lebanese authorities under the veil of
protecting the national rights of Palestinian refugees - especially the
Right of Return. This has manifested itself by several restrictions
on the refugees' community:
a- Restrictions on accommodation: The governmental policy is simply:
1- No for rebuilding the 3 Camps destroyed during the civil war.
2- No for building new Camps.
3- No for enlarging the existing Camps.
4- No for Palestinian ownership of real estate (refer to g).
In practice, this policy has led to prohibiting the entry of building
material to Camps in South Lebanon and preventing the repair of
houses by restricting the repair permits. Violators of this policy
been arrested and brought in front of military courts after venturing
«smuggling» a paint bucket or a cement sac.
As a result, refugees live in sub-human standards best depicted by a
population density of 18 persons per square meter in Ain-El-Hilweh Camp
Such a dense population is also deprived of enough water resources,
supply of electric power etc...
The densely populated and under-serviced camps also lack the necessary
infrastructure. Absence of sanitation systems and garbage collection
services further complicate the environmental status.
In addition, several of the Camps are under the threat of being
pulled down in order to make way for roads and post-war rebuilding of
Beirut. This is one of the causes that has led to the shrinkage of
Camp rebuilding aid.
Under such conditions, one can easily imagine the ghetto's refugees
when shifting the sight between Palestinian Camps and their
b- Security Restrictions:
Tight security procedures around most of camps have started in 1986
and after the Lebanese militias' «war on camps». However, the status
refugees has recently worsened. Under the veil of presence of
weapons and persons», all 5 Camps in the South have been put under
siege. Entry and exist is limited to one road and is subject to
military measures. Civilians in some occasions wait for an hour when
need to enter or exist the camps.
c- Work Restrictions:
Palestinian refugees cannot work before obtaining a work permit. This
permit is subject to the role of «mutual treatment between countries».
result, Palestinians cannot work in around 73 (46 according to Lebanese
resources) different professions (including all respectable jobs as
engineers, lawyers, etc...). Thus much of the qualified workers have
content with competing with other foreigners for minor jobs, or work
permits and thus be under the mercy of employers.
Surveys conducted by our organization demonstrated a 44% of
at 20% of occasional unemployment. Besides, around 12% of children aged
and less leave schools in search of jobs mainly in the fields of
agriculture and services.
d- Restrictions on traveling:
Lebanese authorities have cancelled the requirement of «entrance /
permission» in 1999 - the permission which meant that any refugee
from Lebanon practically had a time restriction on their return, the
that some refugees viewed as a one-way ticket. Despite it's canceling,
repercussion continue to exist. Several countries deny visas to
fearing the reactivation of the permission procedure.
e- Restrictions on representative bodies:
The Lebanese law denies Palestinians the right to form syndicates and
organizations by limiting such a privilege to Lebanese citizens only.
deprives the Palestinian community from practicing its civil rights.
f- Restrictions on having a fair trial:
Palestinian refugees are denied the access to judicial support fund, a
financial form of aid offered to Lebanese citizens who cannot afford to
the services of a lawyer to represent them in front of Lebanese courts.
practice, Palestinians who cannot afford it will have either of 2
- The refugee would bring to trial without a lawyer. Thus it is usual
refugees receive maximum verdicts.
- With no lawyer to follow up his case, a refugee might spend in
centers a period of time far more than the expected period, before
However, recent amendments to laws of trial limited the maximum
detention period to 60 days. This welcomed amendment will hopefully
refugees who become forgotten in the detention centers.
g- Restrictions on Ownership:
A recent addition to restrictions was the law passed by the Lebanese
parliament, which deprives Palestinians from owning real estate in
under the veil of preventing citizens of unestablished / unrecognized
countries from owning real estate in Lebanon. Ironically, this
fits only Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon.
According to the minutes of the Lebanese Parliament, this is a
discriminative law that violates Human Rights.
4- The receding role of PLO.
Since its exit from Beirut in 1982, PLO has systematically closed all
institutions that used to accommodate and support a lot of refugees.
following Oslo Agreement, the PLO stopped all forms of aid (pensions,
academic grants etc...). PLO's current general trend as noticed by the
and other observers is abandoning the previous «guardian» role and
it to UNRWA.
This is sensed from the minute size of budget reallocated (after years
absence) to Palestinians in Lebanon. However, the budget is constantly
varying in its value, and is spent in a non-transparent way on the
of political advocators of the PLO.
Finally, the Palestinian Authority is preoccupied in establishing a
Palestinian state, in negotiations with the Israelis and in the events
Intifada. This leaves too little thought for refugees, especially in
Lebanon - where political discord with the Lebanese authorities have
prevailing and limiting forms of cooperation.
5- UNRWA's shrinking services:
Since 1994, a deficit has been inherent to UNRWA's budgets. Partly due
donors' unreliability and partly due to corruption, UNRWA had to shrink
services as follows:
a- Health services: by limiting its beds to a number of mediocre
and in which it pays a PART of the cost for a PART of the
The dependence of the refugees community on UNRWA's health services
self evident when one takes into consideration the extremely difficult
socio-economic conditions and absence of any form of contributions from
In practice, the refugees have to literarily beg for whatever
helps he gets. It is with quite a shame that we could actually
several cases of death at hospital doors and prevention of patients
leaving hospitals because of inability to pay the fees. In one of the
occasions, bodies of a deceased patient were detained in the morgue for
days before relatives could secure the treatment fees.
According to UNRWA, each of its doctors examines 80 patients per day
allocating an average of 4 minutes for every patient who endeavors to
its under equipped free clinics. The medications previously
freely have been greatly diminished, and the previously free full range
laboratory tests became a part of history.
We conclude to say that a big slice of Palestinian community in Lebanon
partially or completely deprived of medical services.
b- Educational services: Most of UNRWA's schools work on a two shift
(morning and evening) due to lack of buildings. Also, UNRWA, the major
employer of refugees, has changed its employing policy to hire
only on yearly basis rather than regular basis. It also has stopped
providing its students with free books and stationary. Finally, its
university grants programs have been diminished. Students in different
educational stages await their gloomy future with pessimism.
c- Social services: The UNRWA's extreme hardship program that benefited
around 10% of registered refugees has greatly subfered from the budget
deficit. Other programs as handicap aid, small loans program and
activities have been downgraded.
6- Absence of authority:
A major problem that faces refugees in Lebanon is the absence of an
authority that represents them and treats their needs.
The popular committees in Camps are far from being democratic or
representative. Never the less, Lebanese authorities recognize them
when it comes to security issued.
These same authorities prohibit the PLO and the Palestinian authority
having any formal representative in Lebanon to manage the conditions of
stinians. If that were due to a political position, one would expect
the PLO rivals would be recognized as representative of Palestinian
in front of Lebanese authorities. However, this is not the case.
The only authority recognized is an imposed one. All refugees issues
put into the hands of «Department of Refugees», a branch of the
ministry of interior involved in issuing ID's and keeping track of
7- Palestinian Point of View:
The unity among refugees towards clinging to the right of return (78,6%
according to a survey conducted by (PHRO) is counter balanced by a
the Lebanese official side to prevent the access of Palestinian
their civil rights. This point of view claims to be based on the need
preserve the Palestinian national rights - including the right of
However, refugees seem to have made up their mind to tolerate adverse
conditions awaiting a fair solution rather than succumbing to pressure
initiating a massive emigration from Lebanon. Refugees do not perceive
Lebanese authority as an enemy neither do they want to be resettled in
Lebanon; however, granting them their civil rights will support their
for the right of return - the right Lebanese factions and authorities
to advocate secondary to varying intrinsic causes. (These were the
conclusions we arrived at from open-ended questions in our
PHRO's Vision of a possible solution
As a Palestinian Human Rights Organization, we perceive certain steps
need to be taken towards resolving the Refugees aspect of the Middle
Problem. We recommend that participants in the Trieste Conference,
including European nations, NGO... take the following steps:
A- Regarding Israel: The Fair Permanent Solution:
All forms of pressure acceptable by International Laws should be
Israel to alter its political position towards implementing UN
especially number 194, «The Right to Return» Resolution. Full
implementation of 194 constitutes the fair solution to the problems of
B- The Interim Stage:
Meantime, while a waiting the fair permanant solution, participants in
conference should do their best to enhance the conditions of
Refugees. We see this possible through the following steps that
an interim stage:
1- Regarding Host Countries:
Countries that host Palestinian Refugees should recognize the rights of
Refugees as dictated by International law, and by article 2 of the EU
association agreement for countries who signed this agreement. Such
include the recognition of Palestinian NGOs in host countries and
cooperating with them.
2- Regarding UNRWA:
a- Countries that provide financial support to UNRWA should increase
contribution at least to allow UNRWA cover for the normal population
and fullfill UNRWA's obligations espesially towards education, health
providing work services.
b- UNRWA plays a priceless role in the daily life of refugees, a role
valuable to be threatened by the needed consensus for renewal of its
mandate. This Agency should survive until a fair solution for
problem is reached.
c- UNRWA's mandate needs to be expanded to include providing protection
Refugees since those Refugees are succeptible to varying threats as
that were imposed by various Arab-Israeli Wars and Lebanese Civil War.
d- UNRWA should solve the «N-R» and «non-ID» problems.
The NR category is that of refugees who are recognized by UNRWA but
benifit from its services, especially health services. It should also
recognize the presence and solve the registration problem of around
Refugees who fall in the non-ID category. Those are registered by
UNRWA nor Lebanese government. Consequently, they are ghosts who donot
any form of official ID.
3- Regarding the policy of EU members:
a- The Refugees problem should not be considered as another political
outcome of the Middle East Conflict, whose solution awaits the
solution to this conflict. Refugees problem is primarily a
one. It is that of Hundreds of thousands who are tired of being put on
awaiting a political solution that might not come. The Humanitarian
should be tackled without further delay.
b- EU should adopt a developemental policy towards the Refugees'
inorder to avoid the destablization of the region.
We see that this can be achieved by direct EU action and by
local bodies and NGOs in countries that host refugees to establish the
i- Supporting programs aimed at establishing and strengthening
values and spreading the culture of Human Rights.
ii- Providing legal aid to refugees inface of Host countries'
iii- Supporting programs of youth rehabilitation, women's activities,
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