General conditions of Palestinian refugees in Syria
Syria, Politics, 11/19/1999
The number of Palestinian refugees registered in Syria is estimated at 370,000 and another 40,000 who are not registered. Those Palestinians represent 2.5% of the total Syrian population. Most of them are concentrated in the cities or their surroundings. Most of them left their houses in Palestine between 1947 and 1948.
A study recently prepared by the Canadian government in collaboration with the Syrian authorities and UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency) on the general conditions of the Palestinian refugees in Syria stressed that the Palestinians "receive the same treatment applied to the Syrians, and they are not discriminating, enjoying the right to education and medical services and the labor market including governmental posts," adding that the only exception is that the Palestinians can not have Syrian citizenship.
The study found that the refugees in the camps were feeling isolation from the Palestinian leadership in the occupied territories and that many of them expressed fears that the talks between the PLO with Israel are of no concern to their conditions, while others felt they did not get a fair share of the projects carried out under the program of implementing peace.
The study said that education is one of the great achievements carried out by UNRWA (founded in 1960). The study says that despite facilities provided by the Syrian government to the refugees, poverty and unemployment are the main challenges the Palestinian refugees face in Syria.
The study called on the donor countries to provide UNRWA with needed requirements to ensure humanitarian needs that should be met by the Agency, to back self-support programs in order to help restore confidence and self-reliance among the Palestinian refugees.
UNRWA also called for ensuring the necessary financing for the educational sector and for the necessary maintenance of the infrastructure in collaboration with the donor countries.
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