Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Palestinians in Lebanon demonstrate for their rights

Matthew Cassel, The Electronic Intifada, 30 June 2010

".....Rola Badran, organizer and Program Director of the Palestinian Human Rights Organization, explained that "The point of this event is to show Palestinians that we cannot stay waiting in the camps. We have to march and call for our rights."

Badran said that the march was part of ongoing campaign to put pressure not only on the Lebanese government, but also on the international community to recognize the Palestinian refugees' right of return.

The issue of granting rights to Palestinians refugees has always been controversial in Lebanon due to the uneasy sectarian balance established in the country's constitution. Christian politicians recently rejected four draft laws in the Lebanese Parliament that would have granted Palestinians the right to work and own property. Christian groups insist that respecting Palestinians' basic rights would lead to their naturalization as Lebanese citizens and tilt the sectarian balance in favor of Sunni Muslims. Palestinian groups have long refuted this, and state that it isn't Lebanese citizenship they want, only their human rights and to return to Palestine.

"We're not Sunni Palestinians, we are Palestinians," Badran said. "We are humans, we are here, we need to enjoy our dignity. That is the first step to go back to Palestine.""

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