The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) has condemned Iraq’s decision to strip Palestinian refugees of the rights and benefits that they have enjoyed for decades, Quds Press reported on Friday.
According to the London-based PRC, this decision was based on “discrimination” against the Palestinians as it strips them of basic rights such as free education, healthcare and residence. It noted that the decision also strips the Palestinians of the right to have a travel document and excludes them from recruitment in Iraqi state institutions.
The PRC called for the Iraqi government to rescind this decision and respect the Palestinian refugees and their rights until they are able to return to their land occupied in 1948.
The organisation called on the international community to put pressure on the Iraqi government to cancel the decision and guarantee full rights to all Palestinian refugees, who were given preferential treatment during Saddam’s era, when they enjoyed the same rights as Iraqis apart from citizenship.
In 2003, there were 42,000 Palestinian refugees in Iraq. After the violence erupted following the US-led invasion of the country, most of them fled. The number is now estimated to be fewer than 4,000.