Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 December 2014, 20:05 GMT

Lebanon: Information on the treatment of Palestinian Christians by the government

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 August 1996
Citation / Document Symbol LBN24219.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Lebanon: Information on the treatment of Palestinian Christians by the government, 1 August 1996, LBN24219.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6abc95b.html [accessed 17 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

The following information was provided during a 6 August 1996 telephone interview with a researcher at the Centre for Lebanese Studies located at Oxford University in England.

The source stated that the Centre has not received any information concerning the mistreatment of Palestinian Christians in Lebanon. Palestinian Christians who have Lebanese citizenship would have the same rights and obligations as other Lebanese citizens.

The source stated that among the popultion there is a general resentment of the Palestinian population of Lebanon. This resentment is based on the belief that the Palestinians triggered the Lebanese civil war. Since 1992 there has been a hardening of the Lebanese government's position regarding Palestinians who do not have Lebanese citizenship and who live in the camps. For example, since 1992 the number of work permits given to Palestinians has decreased significantly. Out of the 15,000 work permits distributed annually since 1992, only 125 have been given to Palestinians. In 1992, the government issued a decree that denied Palestinians access to 70 professions. Also, Palestinians holding dual citizenship are automatically denied work permits in Lebanon.

The following information was provided during an 8 August 1996 telephone interview with the editor-in-chief of L'Orient express, a Beirut-based publication covering social, political, economic and cultural affairs in Lebanon and the Middle East.

The source is not aware of any reports about mistreatment of Palestinian Christians in Lebanon. The source stated that if a Palestinian Christian has Lebanese citizenship, he/she would have the same rights and obligations as a Lebanese citizen. These Palestinians do not face problems with the Lebanese authorities and population because they are well-integrated into the society. The source added that in the 1940s and 1950s, Palestinian Christians generally received better treatment than Palestinian Muslims. Today, this distinction does not exist for non-citizen Palestinians.

The source made a distinction between Palestinians who live within and outside of refugee camps. Palestinians who lives inside the camps face greater socio-economic difficulties than those who live outside the camps, who are generally more integrated into the Lebanese society.

The following information was provided during an 8 August 1996 telephone interview with a researcher at the Centre d'études et de recherches sur le monde arabe contemporain (CERMOC), a French research institute covering political, social and economic issues in the Middle East, with special emphasis on Lebanon and Jordan.

The source stated that Palestinian Christians who are Lebanese citizens do not experience difficulties with the government or the population. As with Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians who do not have Lebanese citizenship must obtain a work permit, but this is difficult for them to obtain. The government treats Palestinians who live in camps the same, whether they are Christians or Muslims. Palestinian Christians living outside the camps are generally more integrated into society than are Palestinian Muslims.

The government passed a naturalization decree in which 150,000 people residing in Lebanon received Lebanese citizenship, and among these were many were Palestinians.

The following information was provided during an 8 August 1996 telephone interview with the editor-in-chief of The Middle East Reporter, a Beirut-based publication covering current events in Lebanon and the Middle East.

The source stated that Palestinian Christians who have Lebanese citizenship face no particular difficulties in Lebanon. If they do not have Lebanese citizenship, however, the government will treat them as Palestinians and they will face socio-economic difficulties.

The following information was provided during a 6 August 1996 telephone interview with the Director of the Department on Service to Palestinian Refugees at the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) in Limassol, Cyprus. The MECC is not a political organization and is not involved in any political activities in Lebanon. The MECC provides services to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

A large number of Palestinian Christians have received Lebanese citizenship, although some others have not. The source was unable to provide more specific data. Palestinian Christians who have Lebanese citizenship do not face particular problems from either the Lebanese authorities or the population. Palestinian Christians who do not have Lebanese citizenship are considered temporary residents or non-documented residents and are experiencing serious difficulties obtaining work permits. These Palestinians do not have the right to go to the public schools, only to private schools.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

Director, Department on Service to Palestinian Refugees, Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), Limassol, Cyprus. 6 August 1996. Telephone interview.

Editor-in-Chief, L'Orient express, Beirut, Lebanon. 8 August 1996. Telephone interview.

Editor-in-Chief, The Middle East Reporter, Beirut, Lebanon. 8 August 1996. Telephone interview.

Researcher, Centre d'études et de recherche sur le monde arabe contemporain (CERMOC), Beirut, Lebanon. 8 August 1996. Telephone interview.

Researcher, Centre for Lebanese Studies, Oxford, England. 6 August 1996. Telephone interview.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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