Palestinian refugees in Lebanon refer to themselves as 'the forgotten people'. Sixty years after their arrival, tens of thousands still live in temporary shelters in overcrowded unsanitary camps, where unemployment and poverty levels are high. Denied basic human rights, and with no effective means of representation or protection, they are neglected by the humanitarian community, marginalized from regional peace processes, and ignored by the international media. And as their situation continues to deteriorate many claim that their lives are more difficult now than in the last six decades. In this important book, Rebecca Roberts explores the experiences of Palestinians refugees in Lebanon - the oldest and largest single refugee group in the world. Drawing upon comprehensive research conducted over a ten year period in the twelve official camps in Lebanon - including Nahr al-Barid, Shatila and Ein al-Hilweh - the author examines the impact of protracted refugee status on the coping mechanisms developed by refugees. Using the experiences of Palestinians in the camps as an example, she explores how assistance to refugees, the attitudes of the host community, and the passage of time affect the capacities and vulnerabilities of the individual, the family, and the community, and their ability to improve their quality of life or determine their future. She identifies the lessons that can be learned from the Palestinian refugee experience in Lebanon and shows how they may be used to assist other refugee groups. Becoming a refugee is a frightening and disorientating experience: it not only strips people of their property and belongings, it also limits their ability to control events and act independently. And when the refugee situation remains unresolved for too long, it creates groups for whom the initial experience of becoming a refugee becomes a way of life. This pioneering book provides a long overdue account of one of the most neglected refugee communities in the world as well as yielding unique insights into the ability of refugees more generally to survive and build a better future.
Palestinians in Lebanon
Refugees Living with Long-term Displacement