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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Legacy of the 1951 Refugee Convention and Palestinian Refugees: Multiple Displacements, Multiple Exclusions


Article 1D of the 1951 Refugee Convention singles out individuals who receive aid from UN agencies, and specifically applies to Palestinian refugees receiving aid from the UN Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA). While Article 1D was first introduced to afford Palestinian refugees heightened protection, national courts have often interpreted this clause to leave Palestinian refugees without protection. More than 60 years after the initial refugee crisis, how does this provision affect displaced Palestinians today? This paper shows that the haphazard interpretation of Article 1D has often left Palestinian refugees without protection and that this lack of protection has been exacerbated for Palestinians fleeing the crisis in Syria. One solution would be to enable the UNHCR to take on some of the protective functions that used to be provided by the now-defunct UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine.

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