In 1948, Syria received one hundred thousand Palestinian refugees denied their right to return to their homes and lands in Palestine – a right asserted by UN General Assembly Resolution 194. Over the subsequent decades, Syria facilitated their integration into the country. On the eve of the Syrian war, the community of Palestinian refugees in Syria was half a million strong. It is estimated that at least one in every five Palestinians has fled the country already, with the overwhelming majority arriving in Europe as refugees yet again.

What can the Palestinians’ statelessness and repeated devastation of their communities tell us about human rights law and related international legal regimes that regulate the protection of refugees and displaced persons? When do refugees become recognized as refugees, and when does their status afford them protection? Under what circumstances are Palestinian rights, especially the right of return, recognized and supported, what enabled Israel to ignore their claims, and what impact will the continued displacement of communities have on the fight for the Palestinian cause?

The participants will bring their unique expertise and diverse disciplinary background to discuss the current displacements of Palestinian refugees. The workshop and discussion mark the recent publication of Palestinians in Syria: Nakba Memories of Shattered Communities by former ICI Fellow Anaheed Al-Hardan.

In English

Anaheed Al-Hardan
Nael Bitari
Caoimhe Butterly
Noa Ha
Axel Salvatori Sinz

Organized by

An ICI Event organized by Anaheed Al-Hardan and Claudia Peppel, in cooperation with the American University Beirut, the Center for Metropolitan Studies, and with generous support of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

Anaheed Al-Hardan is an assistant professor of sociology at the American University of Beirut. She serves on the advisory board of the Palestinian Oral History Archive and is a member of al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. She is the author of Palestinians in Syria: Nakba Memories of Shattered Communities (Columbia University Press, 2016).

Nael Bitari has since 2004 been working with refugees from Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq in Syria, Lebanon, and Sweden. He was one of the co-founders of Sawa for Development and Aid in Lebanon in 2011, one of the first youth groups to be established in response to the lack of humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. He is currently a consultant and a board member of the Jafra Foundation, a Palestinian-Syrian youth organization based in Lebanon.

Caoimhe Butterly is an Irish activist who spent twelve years working with social movements and community projects in Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti, Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon. She has spent the last two years working with refugee and migrant communities in Greece and France and has produced a number of short films featuring the stories of women on the move seeking refuge. She is active with migrant-led solidarity and anti-racism groups in Ireland. Her film The Border (Idomeni) (2016) won the Grand Prize in the Irish Council for Civil Liberties Human Rights Film Awards.

Noa Ha is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Metropolitan Studies at the Technical University Berlin and a member of the Migrationsrat Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. She is an urban studies scholar whose research interests include the relation of refugees and the city. Together with Kirstina Graaff she has edited Street Vending in the Neo-Liberal City: A Global Perspective on the Practices and Policies of a Marginalized Economy(Berghahn Books, 2015)

Axel Salvatori Sinz is a French filmmaker. His first feature-length documentary, Les Chebabs de Yarmouk(2013), was screened in more than 90 international film festivals and won several awards, among them the Regards Neuf for Best First Film at Visions duréel (2013) and the RTP Award for Best Research Film at Doclisboa (2013). He currently works on Chjami è rispondi, a film set in a Corsican village.