UN welcomes advance enabling Palestinian refugees to work in Lebanon

19 August 2010

Two United Nations agencies have welcomed the recent decision of Lebanese lawmakers to allow Palestinian refugees to work legally in the country, stressing that the move will help to ensure the socio-economic rights of a population that numbers almost half a million people.

Two United Nations agencies have welcomed the recent decision of Lebanese lawmakers to allow Palestinian refugees to work legally in the country, stressing that the move will help to ensure the socio-economic rights of a population that numbers almost half a million people.

The Lebanese Parliament on Tuesday amended the country’s labour and social security laws, removing obstacles for registered Palestinian refugees to obtain work permits and enabling them to receive end-of-service benefits through the Lebanese Social Security fund to which employers are contributing on their behalf.

“This endorsement of the universal right to work by Lebanese legislators is an important breakthrough. It reaffirms Lebanon’s commitment to social justice and decent work for all,” stated Nada Al-Nashif, Regional Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Salvatore Lombardo with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) noted that the amendments are “an important step in the right direction,” adding that the positive momentum generated by the decision can only serve to strengthen UNRWA’s commitment to serve the refugees in Lebanon.

The agencies said in a joint statement that they looked forward to the practical application of these new entitlements under the leadership of the Lebanese Ministry of Labour.

They added that the changes will need to be complemented by further steps to lift Palestinians out of poverty.

“We therefore call for the continued support of the international community and the Lebanese authorities in tackling the ongoing challenges in order to allow Palestinians to live and work in dignity,” they stated.

 

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