Palestinians and the Search for Protection as Refugees and Stateless Persons


This report is the result of a joint collaboration between ENS and BADIL (the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights). It considers the legal status of Palestinian refugees and stateless persons, providing a summary and critical analysis of jurisprudence relating to Article 1D of the Refugee Convention, and statelessness determination relating to Palestinians under the 1954 Convention. The report has a particular focus on the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and European domestic courts.

There has been some progress in recent years in certain jurisdictions towards an increased awareness of refugeehood and statelessness among Palestinians. Despite this limited progress, Palestinians continue to face discriminatory legal frameworks and numerous obstacles to obtaining fair treatment as refugees and/or stateless persons. Although the United Nations and some governments have long recognised that most Palestinians who are or have been within the area of operation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) are refugees, this crucial fact is still too often ignored.

The report highlights why Palestinians should be considered stateless under the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, unless they have acquired a nationality of another state. Many Palestinians remain unable to access adequate protection or face lengthy legal battles to do so.

ENS has also published an advocacy briefing (available in several languages), which offers a succinct summary of the key issues that Palestinians face when seeking protection, and recommendations to different actors in Europe. It builds on the comprehensive review of the legal framework, jurisprudence and policy across Europe as published in the report.

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