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Lebanon hinders reunion interviews of Palestinian refugees

Palestinian children play outside their home in a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, in Lebanon [Mohammed Asad/Apaimages]

The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria has accused the Lebanese authorities of hindering family reunion interviews in EU embassies for refugees from the war-torn country despite prearranged appointments, Quds Press reported on Tuesday.

The Group said that it had received letters from a number of Palestinian refugees who were prevented by Lebanese security officials from travelling to the relevant embassies in Beirut. The refugees also described how the officials mistreated them when they arrived in Lebanon, which is the only place for them to visit EU embassies because other countries refuse them entry.

According to the Action Group, the Palestinian refugees from Syria are contacted by the EU embassies and given specific appointments for their interviews. The Lebanese security agencies are also advised about the appointments, although individual officers deny any knowledge of them. Many refugees have been banned from going for their interviews on the basis that the Lebanese authorities say that they have no proof that they will not remain in the country; the Group insists that such evidence is provided.

A report from the Action Group revealed that the situation of the Palestinian refugees in Syria last year was no better than previous years. It cited the bad situation of the refugees in Khan Sheikhoun, who have been under a strict siege imposed by the Syrian regime.

Life for refugees remains “miserable”, it pointed out, and they have called for the PLO and UNRWA to solve their problems. A donation announced by PLO member Samir Al-Refae when he visited the refugees in 2017 has not been paid. Palestinian officials, added the Group, have not helped to solve the crisis.

Read: Lebanon to evacuate Palestinian refugees to extend highway

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