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Lebanon escalates its denial of civil rights for Palestinian Refugees

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Lebanon's law which outlaws the granting of citizenship to a Palestinian refugee woman married to a Lebanese is being expanded. This constitutes a direct violation of international humanitarian law which binds Lebanon. It also violates Lebanon's National Law Article 5 as amended in 1960 which requires that "the foreign women married to a Lebanese become Lebanese one year after registration of the marriage in the civil registration system upon her request". In 2010 Lebanon's government falsely claimed it corrected this injustice. It did not. Nor did it, in violation of international law, take any step to end all kinds of discriminations against women in Lebanon. This egregious denial of civil rights for Palestinian and Lebanese women risks US and international sanctions against Lebanon while making a mockery the claim that Lebanon is a Democracy.

The government of Lebanon has also recently intensified its refusal to allow Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon the civil right to give their children any legal status whatsoever. Palestinian refugee women married to a foreigner are also blocked from the right to give free residency permits to their children, as Lebanese women are able to do. In addition, Palestinian refugee woman are prevented from giving their husbands an annual foreign residence permit. A campaign has recently intensified preventing the parents of newborn Palestinian refugee children, from even registering their births or acquiring any ID documents. This refusal directly violates International Law which requires the children's status also as refugees. This illegality blocks Palestinian newborns from having legal personality and consequently condemns them to beginning their lives here in Lebanon as outlaws. They are fated to be heavily shackled when they seek to participate in normal activities such as education, receiving health care, traveling inside and outside of Lebanon and much more.

Lebanese law egregiously discriminates against women in general. It also bars Lebanese women from giving citizenship to their children. With respect to Palestinian refugees, UNRWA , the agency of the UN whose mandate is Palestinian refugees, has repeatedly petitioned Lebanon that the UN and international humanitarian law requires it to implement human rights standards. UNWRA's pleas continue to fall on deaf ears and registered Palestinian refugee women are systematically deprived of any possibility of registering their children under their name, so children whose mother is married to a Non-ID Palestinian, for example, are deprived from being registered at all-even by UNWRA.

In flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, including the 1951 Refugee Convention which binds Lebanon via International Customary Law, the government of Lebanon is systematically outlawing the right of the nearly 80,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria to be granted the internationally mandated legal status of refugees. In an attempt to subvert international law and increase its marginalization of Palestinians, Lebanese government regulatory measures dated 31/12/2014 failed to grant wives of Palestinian refugees from Syria the right to allow her husband and children, who are Palestinian Refugees in Syria, to enter Lebanon.

Lebanon's government labels them as tourists subjecting them to nearly impossible to comply with "legal procedures" to enter or remain in Lebanon by requiring paid residency permits. This illegal requirement obtained until August 2014 when the government of Lebanon further violated Palestinian rights and enacted a "No Stay" edict toward the Palestinian refugees from Syria. Lebanon enacted a residency permit requirement, while at the same time blocking-the renewal of residency permits. This illegal action, in addition to Kafkaesque entry procedures, has now rendered illegal most Palestinian refugees from Syria who were forced to flee to Lebanon for their lives.

At the same time Lebanon is now subjecting Palestinian refugees from Syria to arrest and prosecution on site. Lebanon's Parliament does not consider Palestinian refugees from Syria as refugees escaping civil war and treats them more harshly even than Syrian refugees, who are themselves erroneously and cynically labeled as "displaced" in Lebanon.

Recently, Lebanon has been intensifying its deprivation of internal freedom of movement to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon making it effectively unlawful to even change residences. Of the 12 Palestinian refugee camps and 24 gatherings, more than half are now fenced with barbwire and/or military checkpoints. This smothering tactic hinders the freedom of movement of Palestinians living inside the camps and gatherings. These restrictions add massive psychological pressure on refugees especially in light of them being denied the elementary civil right to work or to own a home. As of July 2016 checkpoints continue to be tightened also around the Hezbollah controlled southern suburbs of Beirut camps and also at camp entrances in north Lebanon, targeting Bedawi and Nahr al Bared camps.

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Since 2013, Professor Franklin P. Lamb has traveled extensively throughout Syria. His primary focus has been to document, photograph, research and hopefully help preserve the vast and irreplaceable archaeological sites and artifacts in (more...)

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