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OPT: No one is exempt from International Law - Statement on International Refugee Day

News and Press Release
Originally published
No one is Exempt from International Law

Palestine Right of Return Coalition Calls for International Solidarity with Palestinian Refugees and Respect of their Fundamental Right to Return to their Homes

Statement on International Refugee Day

Peace and stability in the Middle East cannot be achieved without a just solution to the Palestinian refugee question based on their inalienable right to return home. All states are subject to international human rights and humanitarian law. Israel is no exception.

For more than 57 years, Israel has continually rejected Palestinian right of return and excluded the issues from peace negotiations. Although this right is enshrined in customary international law and numerous UN resolutions, in particular UN General Assembly resolution 194 and UN Security Council resolution 237, Palestinian refugees remain prohibited from returning to their homes and properties in Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Moreover, no enforcement mechanisms exist to prevent ongoing Israeli colonization and de facto annexation of more Palestinian land by means of Israel's illegal Wall, expansion of Jewish colonies, and a regime of land laws that aquires Palestinan land for the exclusive benefit of Jewish Israeli. Israel's illegal forced displacement and transfer of population through coercive acts without grounds permitted in international law amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes.

All refugees are entitled to protection, but most Palestinian refugees have remained without effective protection, including in Western countries signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the satus of Refugees. Urgent measures must be implemented in order to guarantee the physical safety and fundamental human rights of exiled Palestinians, particularly in Iraq and Lebanon. However, international efforts at forced resettlement in Arab host states provide neither protection nor a durable solution for Palestinian refugees. Such efforts are illegal and strongly rejected by the people and states in our region.

In light of Israel's blatant disregard for international law, UN resolutions and the ICJ Wall advisory opinion, we call upon concerned members of the international community to boycott and divest from Israel. The international community must pressure states, regional organizations and private companies to impose sanctions on Israel until it dismantles the illegal Wall, ends its prolonged belligerent occupation and colonial enterprise, and implements the fundamental rights of Palestinian refugees to return, restitution and compensation.

The plight and protracted forced exile of Palestinian refugees remains one of the longest-standing unresolved refugee questions in the world. Palestinian refugees compose an estimated 7 million of a total refugee population of 17 million. An important number of the Palestinian population, around 5.3 million, is also without a nationality, and therefore stateless. Refugees are entitled to choose one of three durable solutions - return to their homes and properties, or integration in the host country and resettlement in a third country, of which only return is an inalienable right. The right of return is a fundamental, non-negotiable, individual and collective right.

The Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition:

ADRID - Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced

Aidun Lebanon

Aidun Syria

Al Awda - Palestine Right-to-Return Coalition, U.S.A

Al-Awda Toronto

BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Bethlehem

Committee for the Defense of Palestinian Refugee Rights, Nablus

Forum of Palestinian NGOs in Lebanon

High Committee for the Defense of the Right of Return, Jordan

Palestine Right-of-Return Confederation-Europe (Austria, Denmark, France,

Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden)

Popular Committees - West Bank and Gaza Strip Refugee Camps

Union of Women's Activity Centers - West Bank Refugee Camps

Union of Youth Activity Centers - Palestine Refugee Camps

Yafa Cultural Center, Nablus


Abna' al-Balad Society, Nablus

Al-Ard Committees for the Defense of the Right of Return, Syria

Al-Doha Chilren's Cultural Center, Bethlehem

Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Center, Aida refugee camp

Arab Students' Collective, University of Toronto

Committee for Definite Return, Syria

FARAH - Palestinian Center for Children, Syria

Ghassan Kanafani Forum, Syria

Jafra Youth Center, Syria

Jermana Youth Forum for the Defense of the Right of Return, Syria

Laji Center, Aida camp, Bethlehem

Local Committee for Social Development, Nablus

Local Committee for Rehabilitation of the Disabled, Nablus

Palestinian National Committee for the Defense of the Right of Return, Syria

'Our Palestine' - Commission for the Defense of the Right of Return, Syria

Palestinian Return Association, Syria

Palestinian Return Forum, Syria

Palestinian Youth Forum for the Right of Return, Syria

RORC - International Right of Return Congress

Social Development Center, Nablus

Sumoud-Political Prisoners Solidarity Group, Toronto

Yafa for Education and Culture, Nablus

Yazour Charitable Society, Nablus.