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  • 08:33 - 25 July 2022

Neglected Palestinian refugees in Iraq ask UN for help

Iraq, (Drah-agencies)--

A group of Palestinian refugees in Iraq has sent a memorandum to the United Nations, calling on them for help.

Stateless Palestinians have been subjected to aid cuts and increasing hostility inscribed in Iraqi law.

The memorandum, posted to the 'Site for Palestinians in Iraq' Facebook page on Friday, said Palestinians in Iraq have had their calls for assistance neglected by the UN and international community for decades.

"We have been in the state of Iraq for more than 75 years without international protection that takes care of our affairs," the memorandum read.

Palestinians in Iraq are estimated to number in the thousands. Many are the descendants of Palestinians who fled Israeli ethnic cleansing and mass displacement in Palestine in 1948.

Palestinian refugees do not qualify for Iraqi citizenship and as a result some have been refused or stripped of their jobs, according to the UN - a major obstacle in a country with a high unemployment rate and little in the way of state services.

In 2017, Iraq repealed a law that stipulated that Palestinians in Iraq had the same rights as Iraqis "until the liberation of all Palestinian soil".

The repealing of the law saw Palestinians stripped of some financial assistance and access to state education and healthcare. 

To make matters worse, the UN refugee agency cut aid to some Palestinian families in Iraq in 2020, leaving them without a housing allowance.

Palestine's ambassador to Iraq Ahmed Aqel told The New Arab's Arabic-language site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that he was aware of the Palestinian group's memorandum.

"It is the right of young activists to direct [the memorandum] to the United Nations and international organisations... it is clear that the United Nations does not consider the Palestinians of Iraq to exist in the first place," he said.

He said the case of Palestinians in Iraq had been raised with the UN a month ago, "but there were no encouraging reactions".

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