Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Tue109 2018

Last update19:14 PM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
Palestine
Palestine refugees from Iraq resettled in Chile
Palestine refugees from Iraq resettled in Chile
Thirty-nine Palestinian refugees from Iraq -- stuck at al-Tanf refugee camp in no-man’s land on the Iraq-Syria border -- have been resettled in Chile.
Thursday, April 10,2008 16:47
Electronicintifada.net

Thirty-nine Palestinian refugees from Iraq -- stuck at al-Tanf refugee camp in no-man"s land on the Iraq-Syria border -- have been resettled in Chile.

"Until last year it felt like the doors were closed for moving the Palestinian refugees. The desert conditions at al-Tanf are extremely inappropriate for the refugees to live in. Finally a window of opportunity opened with Chile," said Laurens Jolles, head of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Syria.

The resettlement is the first of its kind since Palestinians fleeing violence in Iraq were first interned in tents at al-Tanf in May 2006. An earlier plan to resettle some of the Palestinians in Sudan was delayed after some of the refugees rejected the idea.

Since October 2007 al-Tanf has doubled in size from 351 to 733 Palestinian refugees, following the tightening of asylum restrictions in Syria, which already hosts an estimated 1.5 million Iraqi refugees.

Al-Walid camp on the Iraq side of the border is home to about 1,560 Palestinian refugees. So far the UNHCR has resettled one family of eight with several sick children from the camp -- to Norway in August last year. A third camp near the border, al-Hol in north-eastern Syria, houses some 300.

The 39 refugees who flew to Chile from Damascus on 5 April included 23 children. They have been resettled in La Calera, 130 kilometers north of Santiago, where local authorities are providing health care, education and Spanish classes. Chile has agreed to host 117 refugees in total and two more groups are expected to depart later this month to be resettled in San Felipe, north of Santiago and other neighborhoods in the capital.

Still stranded

Despite the resettlement in Chile, over 2,000 Palestinian refugees continue to deal with the harsh reality of life in the desert at the al-Tanf and al-Walid camps. Conditions in al-Hol in Syria are significantly better as the refugees have much freer access to Syrian goods and services.

As well as the daily threat of bites and stings from rats, scorpions and snakes, the refugees in al-Tanf have lived for years without any clear future ahead of them.

"One of the worst things for the refugees is that they are in a permanent state of "waiting." They are between borders and have no control over their lives. They are completely dependent on aid organizations and this is very disheartening," said Astrid Haaland, Iraqi Palestine refugees team leader for the UN Palestinian relief agency, UNRWA.

Almost half the refugees in al-Tanf are under 18. Many have developed asthma as a result of the desert conditions and are suffering from fevers, diarrhea and vomiting.

Although there are emergency doctors from the Palestine Red Crescent Soceity (PRCS) permanently on call at al-Tanf, treatment at a hospital is a three-hour ride away in Damascus where only critical cases are taken.

Despite the hardships, Jolles said the refugees at al-Tanf are well cared for. They are not short of material, food or water supplies, he said, and the UNHCR together with UNRWA, the UN Children"s Fund UNICEF, the PRCS and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) have set up programs to help the refugees deal with the psychological trauma of their experiences in Iraq.

UNRWA set up a school in February 2007, hiring some of the qualified refugees as teachers and providing an education program which currently teaches over 100 children.

This item comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. All IRIN material may be reposted or reprinted free-of-charge; refer to the copyright page for conditions of use. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.


Posted in Palestine , Human Rights  
Add Comment Send to Friend Print
Related Articles
Retaining One’s Dignity in Palestine
UN’s Assessment of Human Rights Violations in Occupied Palestine
Akef in Conference for Supporting Palestine : Camp David Treaty Isolated Egypt
Strangulation in the Dark: Palestine, Somalia, and the American Mainstream Media
If Kosovo, why not Palestine?
Rafah Crossing opening could lead to economic boon for both Egypt and Palestine
Israel’s Chief Rabbi calls for ethnic cleansing of non-Jews in Palestine
Palestine Visit: Hebron and Ibrahimi Mosque
The liar of Washington is not welcome in Palestine
The Palestine that we struggle for
Visiting Palestine
Hamas Debates the Future - Palestine’s Islamic Resistance Movement Attempts to Reconcile Ideological
Welcome to Palestine
Turkey, Palestine, Morocco: No Welcome to Islamists