The Grand Serail hosted today the launching of the Key Findings of the National Population and Housing Census of Palestinian Camps and Gatherings in Lebanon in Lebanon 2017 in an official conference under the patronage and in the presence of His Excellency Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri. The conference was attended by MPs, ministers, ambassadors, diplomats, Lebanese and Palestinian political leaders, heads of international organizations, representatives of military institutions and a crowd of researchers and journalists, as well as representatives of Palestinian and Lebanese civil society.
Prime Minister Hariri saluted in his speech the committee’s work and emphasized on that the government will adopt all its proposals.
Hariri considered “The figures and indicators provided by this comprehensive census of population and housing in the Palestinian camps and gatherings in Lebanon draw a clear picture of the reality of the situation of the refugees and contribute to the formulation of projects and plans for the solutions.” He confirmed that “Lebanon, which experienced the repercussions of the crises around it, in addition to its own problems and internal issues, considers that the international and Arab sides and the UN organizations are responsible of addressing the situation.”
Hariri mentioned “the crisis faced by UNRWA recently especially the financial crisis that threatens its programs, directly and negatively affects the basic requirements of Palestine refugees in Lebanon.” He called on the donor countries to increase their contributions and support to enable UNRWA to fulfill its commitments to secure the refugees’ needs and to ensure a just solution to their cause in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy.
The Chairman of the Committee Dr. Hassan Mneimneh considered in his speech that “one of the most important indications shown by the census, which will guide the course of Lebanese-Palestinian relations in the future, is the possibility of overcoming and breaking many of the long-standing taboos in the country. Thus, it is a possible process through genuine and responsible dialogue between the Lebanese-Lebanese and Lebanese-Palestinian parties.
He added that “the figures reached by the census confirm the need to adopt accurate statistics in various files, for the facts that they reveal without any exaggeration or reduction. The database will allow researchers and international instituand ortions ganizations to take advantage of the figures and conclusions to adopt programs to help in approaching the situation of Palestinian refugees conveniently.
This census, which was based on a decision of the Lebanese Council of Ministers on 25/8/2016, was followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Lebanese and Palestinian governments on 19/10/2016. Ola Awad, head of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, who participated in the implementation of the census, together with the Lebanese Central Administration of Statistics, pointed out that “it is an illustration of real Lebanese-Palestinian collaboration and partnership”. She hoped that “the results would constitute a real opportunity to change the reality of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon at all levels and areas, to put the international community in the context of their suffering based on the facts and figures that resulted from this census, and to shed the light on the consequences of the Israeli occupation policies towards our Palestinian people everywhere”. She added that “the Palestinian presence in Lebanon and other Arab countries is only temporary, until their fate is determined and their return to their homes”.
About 1000 Lebanese and Palestinian youth were engaged in the implementation of the field-based census, said the Director-General of the Lebanese Central Administration of Statistics Dr. Maral Tutelian Guidanian. She added that “an advanced data collection management system was adopted using tablets to fill data instead of the usual paper forms. The updated data were verified by linking the form to the geographical location of the residential units and using tracking geographic information system (GIS). Additionally, an advanced tracking and communication system, linked to the GPS system constitutes a quantum leap in the future statistical work at the Lebanese Central Administration of Statistics in terms of the direct impact on the overall quality of the project, the schedule and the quality of the results.
Number of refugees and key findings
After a brief explanation of the methodology and techniques used in the implementation of the census in all its phases and clarifying the rates of non-response and lack of coverage, which have reached 5.6%, the Director-General of the Lebanese Central Administration of Statistics Dr. Maral Tutelian Guidanian announced the main results of the census. She said that “the number of Palestinian refugees in the camps and gatherings reached 174,422 individuals in 2017, living in 12 camps and 156 Palestinian gatherings in the five governorates of Lebanon. The results of the census revealed that about 45% of the Palestinian refugees reside in the camps compared with 55% living in Palestinian gatherings in the bordering areas with a 35.8% concentration in Saida, followed by 25.1% in the North, 14.7% in Tire, 13.4% in Beirut %, 7.1% in Al Shouf and 4% in Bekaa.
The results also showed that there is a change in the demographic composition of the population in the camps, where the number of non-Palestinians increases the number of refugees in some Palestinian camps. In Shatila camp, 57.7% of the residents are Syrians, compared to 29.7% of Palestinian refugees. The percentage of displaced in Burj al-Barajneh camp was 47.9% compared to 44.8% of Palestinian refugees. In Mar Elias camp, it was found that 39% of the displaced are Syrians, while in Beddawi the number reached 34.4%.
Moreover, the results showed that the Palestinians in the camps constitute about 72.8%, of whom 65.4% are Palestinian refugees residing in Lebanon, 7.4% are Palestinian refugees from Syria and 4.9% are Palestinian refugees holding a second nationality.
In addition, the results indicated that the illiteracy rate among the Palestinian refugees reached 7.2%, while the labor force reached 51393 individual and the unemployment rate reached 18.4%. The results also indicated that the unemployment rate among individuals aged 15-19 years increased by 43.7% and by 28.5% for the range between 20-29 years.
The data indicated that the number of Palestinian families in the camps and gatherings reached 52,147 families, of which 7.2% were Palestinians married to Lebanese women and 2.4% were Lebanese women married to Palestinians.