Accepted paper:

The impact of internal politics on Palestinian refugees in Egypt

Author:

Sara Awad (Dcode Economic and Financial Consulting)

Paper short abstract:

The Egyptian legal framework towards refugees in general highlights a lack of implementation of international rights. In specific, Palestinian refugees are susceptible to changes in the Egyptian regime and are vulnerable to political interests of the government.

Paper long abstract:

Today, 6 million Palestinian refugees live in different countries around the world. At a micro-level, Egypt hosts over 120,000 Palestinian refugees (0.1% of the population) in different cities like Alexandria, Cairo, and Al-Arish (UNHCR, 2014). While the majority arrived after the Nakba (1948) and the 1967 war, more recent refugees arrived from Gaza following major Israeli raids. Although Egypt's responsibility as a host state is to ensure Palestinian refugees a decent life, assistance efforts have not been consistent over time. Since the 1940s, the Egyptian government has been refusing to have any permanent refugee camps fearing that Palestinians would stay permanently. As a result, unlike Lebanon and Jordan, Palestinians in Egypt live within the Egyptian community in the urban setting (Abed, 2009). Additionally, although UNRWA is the official assistance and protection provider to Palestinian refugees, Egypt does not fall under its scope of operations. Palestinian refugees report directly to UNHCR whose efforts have been either insufficient or curtailed by government's constraints. Due to a void of international and local protection, Palestinian refugees have been vulnerable vis-à-vis government's laws which have been fluctuating according to the preferences of the regime in power. The deprivation of rights due to the unstable legal and economic conditions of Palestinians in Egypt has placed them in a state of in limbo. This paper examines how Egyptian domestic and foreign political developments over the past seven decades affect Palestinian refugees' rights and treatment in Egypt.

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