Association Najdeh in cooperation with UNRWA Clinic at Weevil/ Baalbek conducted a health seminar and discussions under the title of “Depression and Good Nutrition”. Dr. Mohamad Wehbe, was the speaker in the seminar. Ms. Danita Abu El Foul, Najdeh Balbeck Branch Coordinator opened the session and welcomed the attendees and presented NAJDEH’s programs and services. The session included the graduation of diabetic patients who got trained in the micro-clinic program (by UNRWA), where they received certificates by the UNRWA Director in Beqa’a Dr. Mahmoud Refai.
All Psycho-social centers organized entertaining trips at the end of summer activities. The outdoor activities enhance the relationship among children and their families.
Through the project “Enhancing the Protection Strategies for Palestinian Refugees displaced from Syria to Lebanon”, funded by OCHA and Diakonia-Sweden, Association Najdeh in cooperation with Diakonia organization and Issam Fares Institute at the American University, conducted an interactive workshop for media journalists on Tuesday, May 2nd, at the Issam Fares Institute, under the title of “Supporting Human Rights Approaches in Addressing Palestinian Refugees from Syria”.
The workshop was opened by Dr. Nasser Yassin on behalf of Issam Fares Institute. He welcomed the participants in cooperation with Association Najdeh and Diakonia Organization and pointed out the importance of reconsidering and highlighting the legal and humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon.
“This workshop is part of a series of meetings and workshops that were held and also others to be held with local and international partners on issues related to Palestinian refugees from Syria, which are monitored and identified through observations and documentation of people’s problems within the project,” said Rodolphe Gabriel, Director of Diakonia Office in Lebanon. The project focuses on protection, especially legal issues, in order to present them to national organizations and authorities in order to implement the recommendations proposed in the policies brief on the legal status of Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon.
The Executive Director of Association Najdeh, Mrs. Laila Al-Ali, stressed that the workshop was organized as an attempt to develop a positive approach in dealing with the issues and conditions of the Palestinian refugees from Syria, a comprehensive approach dealing with the Palestinian refugees from Syria to Lebanon not only as numbers or according to humanitarian needs and welfare, But from the perspective of comprehensive inclusive humanitarian and social protection.
She pointed out that the issues in the studies are based on the facts and figures collected during the period of implementation of the project . She stressed to avoid politicizing the case of refugees or displaced people, which is often the case with many local and national political parties, regional and international policies, according to the different interests of the party dealing with the issue.
The workshop discussed two papers entitled “Lost Protection”. The first dealt with the legal status of refugees (especially residency), while the second dealt with the situation of 15-year-olds in Lebanon,
Both papers were finalized during the implementation of the project.
The discussion was moderated by Ms. Carol Mansour, UNRWA’s Protection Unit, while Advocate Manar Zaaiter presented the two policy papers that focused on the following:
- The legal status paper refers to the procedures of entry and renewal of residency in the absence of clear memoranda and decisions, which leaves space for unambiguous and unclear procedures, in addition to the high cost of renewing residence beyond the capacity of refugees to pay, Access to health, education, etc.
The paper recommended issuing and circulating clear guiding memos and applications for Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria, as well as exempting them from fees and ensuring the registration of births, deaths, marriage contracts and other papers that might affect the course of refugees’ lives. The paper also presented recommendations to UNRWA to develop the role of the protection department and strengthen the role of the Agency in terms of advocacy, and call on the media to ensure the accuracy of the information published, and to promote media advocacy for human rights’ issues.
- The second paper entitled “The situation of children who have reached the age of fifteen” dealt with administrative and legal obstacles to Palestinian children from Syria over the age of 15 years during their stay in Lebanon. They must have a Syrian identity card (the child must be present with a guardian in Syria in order to take fingerprints and obtain an ID from Syria) or obtain a passport (to be issued by the Syrian Embassy in Lebanon with a cost of approximately $ 400 per passport). Either ways, it is almost impossible to obtain the necessary documents to settle the legal status of children.
The paper focused on the repercussions of this legal situation on children over the age of 15, especially in relation to being subjected to arrest and detention, limiting their freedom of movement, dropping out of school and leaving school, etc. The paper presented recommendations to the Lebanese state calling for giving children over the age of 15 the right to legal residence without requiring them to obtain an ID from Syria but on the basis of the individual registration ID and making it free of charge; and not arresting and deporting Palestinian refugee children from Syria.
In addition to enrollment of the refugee children’ situation on the agenda of the Lebanese and Palestinian political consultations, the call for activation of the Law of the Protection of Juveniles and the role of the Higher Council for Childhood.
The paper also included an invitation to UNRWA and the international community to work on ensuring the protection of children, to provide all means of humanitarian and social protection for them, and not to endanger them on both legal and security levels.
The workshop included live testimonies of a group of Palestinian refugees from Syria who came to Lebanon. In addition to presenting three short videos containing the experiences of people who experienced legal problems and difficulties
Association Najdeh at Beddawi camp received a French and Tunisian delegation with the director of the association Ms. Laila Al Ali.
At the beginning of the visit, the delegation visited the Kindergarten and the director of the Beddawi branch, Hanaa Al-Enein, talked about the camp and its population, the number of families from Nahr el-Bared camp, the number of Palestinian families displaced from Syria and the reflection of crises since the July war2006 to the Syrian crisis, on all aspects of the life in the camp.
She provided an overview of the socio-economic conditions in the camp and highlighted the problem of reducing UNRWA services in health, education and services, in addition to the difficult situation of the Palestinian refugees from Syria.
Ms Al Enein explained to the delegation the role of Association and its importance in the Palestinian community due to its different services at all levels through programs that of the Association.
The delegation had a tour in the kindergarten to have an overview at the classrooms and equipment available. Then the delegation moved to the psycho-social center, and had a briefing about the work with children at the center.
“Lift the siege on the right to work for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon”The Coalition of the Right to Work Campaign for Refugees was held on the 1st May stressing on the right to work for Palestinian refugees and on rejecting the unjust laws that prohibiting them from work.
The Palestinian-Lebanese Coalition for the Right to Work Campaign for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon, led by Association Najdeh, organized a sit-in on the 1st of May (Labor Day). Representatives of the local NGOs, syndicates, Palestinian and Lebanese political parties, and a huge crowd of people participated in the set-in in front of the building of Al Azarieh Riad El Solh Street in Beirut.
Labor Day coincides with the strike of hunger of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. This is what distinguishes this year’s celebrations as a day of struggles and uprisings for rights and freedom.
Speaking on behalf of the coalition of the right to work campaign, Mr. Khaled Abu Sweid, paid tribute to the workers of the world and saluted the Palestinian and Lebanese workers in Lebanon. He called on the Lebanese government to fulfill its obligations with regard to the amended laws, especially with regard to Article 59 of the Labor Law and Article 9 of the Social Security Law, that were not yet been implemented.
The Coalition thanked the new Minister of Labor, Mr. Mohamed Kabbara, for issuing a memorandum exempting the Palestinians from the 10% allowed for foreigners in institutions. He called for further amendments that improve the economic and social living conditions of Palestinians on Lebanese land. And to legislate the right to work in all free professions and to benefit from all social security benefits.
He mentioned that the Palestinian labor force does not compete with the Lebanese labor force as it does not exceed 5% of the total labor force in Lebanon. Young people are the most affected by the Lebanese “discriminatory laws”, which form the largest percentage of the unemployed (56%). Despite the Lebanese legal amendments concerning the right to work for Palestinian refugees, they do not meet the minimum demands and rights of the Palestinians.
The Lebanese-Palestinian coalition for the right to work campaign has not only been able to bring about legal amendments, but also to eliminate the discriminatory view of the right of Palestinian refugees. The Palestinian is a major contributor to the economy in Lebanon.