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Remembering Palestinian Refugees on World Refugee Day

June 20, 2016, midnight

Today is World Refugee Day. The United Nations advocates that our support for refugees should be grounded in shared values of non-discrimination, human rights and international refugee law.

The images we have seen of the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Syria have been deeply moving for us all.

Palestinians know better than most what it means to be a refugee. Today there are 7 million Palestinian refugees and 1 in 3 of all refugees worldwide are Palestinians. 1.5 million are registered with UNWRA and living in UN refugee camps. The largest Palestinian refugee population is in Gaza numbering 1.26 million and suffer under the cruel Israeli blockade.

Palestinian refugees are made up of those surviving of the 750,000 Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed by Zionist militias when the self-declared state of Israel violently came into being in1948, in addition to 300,000 who were displaced when Israel occupied what remained of historic Palestine in 1967, plus all their descendants. In this past year, 140,000 Palestinians refugees have been displaced yet again from Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp in Syria where they have fled the current conflict there.

Today Palestinians still suffer as refugees in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in Gaza, in neighbouring Arab states and in the wider global diaspora. They are denied their human rights, they continue to be displaced, oppressed, injured and killed.

On World Refugee Day the global public should stand with all refugees who face untold hardship and suffering across the world, including Palestinian refugees.

The ‘Right of Return’ of Palestinian refugees is enshrined in UN resolution 194 and we Palestinians will continue to reaffirm our right of return, our right to a state of our own and our right to justice.

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