Cairo Studies on Migration and Refugees- Center for Migration and Refugee Studies at the American University in Cairo
Displacing the Displaced
Challenging the International Framework for Palestinian Refugees in light of the Syria Crisis
(published October 2014)
In 1948 approximately 750,000 Palestinians were displaced for the first time. As of 2014, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) counts over 5 million Palestine refugees. Many of those refugees no longer reside in their first country of asylum but have been repeatedly displaced following expulsions, political unrest and conflicts in host countries.
In 2011, fighting broke out in Syria, creating over three million refugees fleeing mainly to surrounding Arab countries such as Lebanon and Jordan. Alongside Syrian citizens affected by the conflict is a population of about half a million Palestinian refugees in Syria. While Syrians themselves often have a difficult time in countries of refuge, Palestinian refugees in Syria who are also fleeing from the same conflict face additional obstacles such as denied access to territory and forcible return.
The following paper aims to analyse the interplay between the international framework for Palestinians and the respective policies in place in Jordan and Lebanon, with a special focus on the refugee movement from Syria. I argue that the international measures adopted for Palestinian refugees are unsuitable and inadequate to manage their protracted and multiple displacements occurring since the 1940s.