Lebanon launched yesterday a new census prepared by the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, in partnership with the Lebanese Central Administration of Statistics and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in order to properly survey the number of Palestinians in Lebanon.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri, who announced the official launching of the project during a ceremony held at the Grand Serail in downtown Beirut, said Lebanon stresses on the right of return for Palestinian refugees to their country, adding that Lebanon cannot tolerate so many refugees while an additional 1.5 million Syrian refugees are on its territory.
"The whole world should be aware of how much the Palestinians are suffering in Lebanon, and how much the Lebanese are suffering too," Al-Hariri said, adding "the presence of the Palestinians in Lebanon is welcomed, but this work emphasises their right to return to their country. Israel is usurping the Palestinians territories, and we are witnessing the results."
"Hopefully when this report is ready, we will have figures that will confirm to the international community and the world the scale of the problems caused by Israel in Palestine and in Lebanon," Al-Hariri concluded.
The head of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, Hassan Mneimneh, said the census, the first of its kind, will provide the Lebanese state and its institutions with official and comprehensive statistical data on the camps and gatherings inhabited by Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, which will help develop public policies in the future.
Meanwhile, the head of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Ola Awad, said the census project will be finished within 15 months so the Lebanese government and the Palestinian Authority as well as donors can all have access to a reliable census to build any future policies regarding the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.