LPDC workshop with OHCHR and UNRWA

LPDC workshop with delegations from the Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for the Middle East and North Africa (OHCHR) and the UNRWA office in Lebanon

LPDC held a workshop in its office at the Grand Serail with a delegation from the Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for the Middle East and North Africa. OHCHR delegates included Todd Howland, Cynthia Veliko, James Turpin, Pradeep Wagle, Narmin Maher and Saad Muhammad. The Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Dr. Dorothee Klaus, and the UNRWA Chief of Protection, Stephanie Case, were also present in the workshop.  Attendees discussed the main objectives of the LPDC strategy, which focuses on securing Palestinian refugee rights as a starting point for improving their living conditions in Lebanon.

LPDC presented an overview of its history, its 2022 -2024 strategy, and its priorities regarding the legislative and the legal status of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. The focus of which delves into Palestinian refugees’ right to work and own property, and the discussion of a special law regarding Palestinian refugee rights in Lebanon, written within the bounds of the Lebanese Constitution which rejects permanent settlement. LPDC spoke of its role, its methodology, the priority and progress of the human rights file, and the importance of transforming this into legislation in the House of Representatives by communicating with all concerned parties in Parliament.

LPDC Chairman, Dr. Bassel Al Hassan, welcomed the attendees and emphasized that securing refugee rights does not contradict the right to return and that the rejection of permanent settlement falls in accordance with the provisions of international law.

Dr. Al Hassan explained the challenges Lebanon is currently undergoing due to the economic crisis, while also noting that there is a distinction between the Syrian refugee file and the Palestinian refugee file. Dr. Al Hassan spoke of a unified vision expressed by the Lebanese government toward the case of Palestinian refugees, elaborating that main Lebanese parties are open to dialogue regarding the presence of Palestinians in Lebanon.

Attendees stressed upon the need to harmonize the rights issue with human rights under international law, and to examine and ameliorate discrimination through Lebanese laws, considering that LPDC plays a key role in bringing this to fruition. The workshop concluded with discussing prospects for future cooperation between OHCHR, UNRWA and LPDC.