The public meeting highlighted the suffering of the refugees in Lebanon, confirming that they are living in difficult humanitarian conditions, especially these days, in light of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
the political and social participation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development—REFORM, through the feature of live broadcast, organized a public meeting with the Director-General of the Community Organization for Development and Empowerment-INITIATE in Lebanon, Mr. Tarek Moneim, to highlight the reality of the political and social participation of Palestinian refugees in the diaspora, using the Palestinians of Lebanon as a model.
At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Moneim discussed the structure of the Palestinian camps, where he said that the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are a reflection of the Palestinian mix that exists in Palestine in terms of political and social composition. He added that the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon suffer from deprivation at all levels, including not practicing nearly thirty-nine professions.
In the context of the political and social participation of the Palestinians of Lebanon, Mr. Moneim referred to two main issues: First, the central position of the refugee issue in the Palestinian political system since Oslo; The second is to strengthen the human rights approach to the refugee issue instead of the humanitarian approach. He focused on the human rights approach to refugees and the possibility of distinguishing between the two approaches in dealing with the issue of Palestinian refugees. The humanitarian approach considers refugees as merely a subject of humanitarian relief. This is in contrast to the political/legal approach that considers the core of the refugee issue to be political/legal, of which they need legal and political protection guaranteed by international refugee law.
the impact of COVID-19 on Palestinian refugees
He also highlighted the suffering of the refugees in Lebanon, confirming that they are living in difficult humanitarian conditions, especially these days, in light of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. He affirmed that the precautionary measures have overshadowed the reality of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and their living conditions, as they are unable to secure the minimum daily income. As a result, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon stopped their work or were unable to reach their places of work due to the events and procedures in Lebanon. As a result, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon stopped their work or were unable to reach their places of work due to the imposed preventive measures in Lebanon.
The audience asked about the nature of the relationship between youth activists and official institutions in Lebanon, what governing frameworks regulate the Palestinian political relationship that governs the relationship between youth and the PLO, and about the camps’ plan to deal with refugees when COVID-19 appear in the camp. Mr. Moneim talked about the absence of political participation, as there is no democratic process in the camps in terms of election, candidacy, or freedom of opinion and expression. He continued by saying that the participation processes are limited to the initiatives created by youth, and this affects the level of Palestinian refugee participation in decision-making processes. In turn, this affects the type of service provided to refugees and their participation in decision-making processes, where there is a gap between the citizen and the decision-maker.
Moreover, Mr. Moneim highlighted the procedures and measures of the camps in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. He further indicated that although the camps are the most densely populated place in Lebanon, there are campaigns on the preventive measures through spreading awareness on social media instead of seminars in order to preserve public safety.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The project also seeks to foster civic engagement by providing safe and interactive spaces that link young activists with decision-makers to bridge the gaps between them by knowledge sharing. It aims to enhance the participation of young women and men in advocating for positive change in democratic processes through monitoring public policies, drafting policy papers, and providing policy suggestions.
To achieve this, the project provides the social and political activists with the ability to engage in a deep analysis of power dynamics between different social components and points of access through facilitating public debates. “PARTAKE II” increases youth’s awareness in democratic processes and enhances their abilities in pressuring policymakers to hold elections with their participation.