Fears of Palestinian Refugees during COVID -19.

World Refugee Day JUNE 20.

Arjun S, MG University Student.

“Persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948. And those who lost both home and livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict” this is the definition of Palestinian refugees given by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). On this International Refugee day June 20, we should remember the Palestinian refugees who have been struggling every day to meet their needs and protect themselves. COVID-19 has been a big blow to the Palestinian refugees. The Refugee camps where these people are settled do not have adequate measures to follow the COVID-19 precautionary measures such as social distancing and basic needs such as masks and handwashes. This lack of social distancing may cause a serious outbreak of this pandemic at a rapid level. Even the UNRWA agrees that socioeconomic conditions in the camps are generally poor, with high population density, cramped living conditions, and inadequate basic infrastructure such as roads and sewers. During this pandemic outbreak, Palestinians are forced to leave the west bank region due to the escalating violence done by Israeli defence forces.

Violation of Right to return.

Article 13(2) of UDHR( Universal Declaration of Human Rights ) states that Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. This right has been violated in the case of Palestinian refugees from the creation of the Zionist state itself. Fares Abu Libdeh who is a Palestine Human Rights activist rightly pointed that Israel is about to annex the Palestinian territory West Bank which will leave approximately 3 lakh people displaced from their homes and forced to become refugees. Their places are annexed by Israel and they are making Zionist settlements right there. This prevents the Palestinians to return to their homeland and they are forced to stay as refugees. This merciless atrocity happens during the outbreak of pandemic and countries like the USA is supporting the Israelian agenda. Most of the Palestinian refugees spend their life in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon, as they are hopeless in returning to their homeland.

Conditions in refugee camps.

Most of the Palestinians seek to be a refugee in neighbouring countries such as Lebanon and Jordan. Most Palestinians in Lebanon don’t get regular financial help from UNRWA. During this COVID-19 period, the condition has been downgraded and the living conditions have become pathetic in these camps. Most Palestinians refugees in Lebanon live in 12 overcrowded camps across the country, which are governed by political fraction. UNRWA is in charge of providing services like education and healthcare, including paying for COVID-19 testing and treating for this refugee. Most of the times they fail to provide this aid response to COVID-19 in Palestinian refugee camps. The lack of proper social distancing and hygiene in camp may cause a serious outbreak in these camps. The conditions have been pathetic in these camps during this pandemic. The nations who host these refugees should take adequate measures along with UNRWA to give a healthy livelihood to Palestinians