Beirut, Lebanon. December 2015.
Houdda, a Palestinian refugee of the second generation, has been handicapped since she was hit by a car 8 years ago. Access to health care and social services is limited for Palestinian refugees.
Shahinaz is a second generation Palestinian refugee living in Beirut, Lebanon. Her teeth were removed when she was misdiagnosed with cancer. It is very difficult for her as a stateless person to receive health services.
Ada who comes from Damascus, feels sick since two months and can’t see a doctor. She has just washed the few clothes she could bring , and wears her prayer gown until the garments are dry.
Portrait of Shahinaz’ father who fled with her mother from Palestine to Lebanon in 1948 and died a few years later in exile. Palestinians in Lebanon remain stateless through the generations.
Shahinaz’ niece plays in the common room that a family of 9 share. They live in very limited space. Especially the women are condemned to a life inside the home.
Many Palestinians live in Daouk, an informal refugee settlement in South Beirut. Illegal structures are being built since the official UN camps in Beirut are overcrowded and underfunded.
Amina came to Lebanon with her parents in 1948. Of her 6 sons and 2 daughters, three are lucky to be in Sweden on a Syrian passport, the others live in a different informal settlement in Beirut.
Ada fled to Lebanon 1 1/2 years ago from Damascus with their two kids and her husband Ibrahim when he was being drafted by the Syrian army. Since then they have been living off the money from selling their shop back home.
Halila’s 9-year-old daughter Rahaf is helping in the household. She can’t go to school. The six-member family fled to Lebanon from Syria and lives here illegally now.
Housing in Daouk, the informal refugee settlement neighbourhood in Beirut, is poor and often in illegal structures.
Halila has come from Syria with her husband and four children. Their status is illegal in Lebanon, and they fear the authorities.
Aminas sister is very ill and has to spend a lot of money on medication. She is one of an estimated 450.000 stateless Palestinians who live in Lebanon, refugees who were seeking shelter from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
Shahinaz eldest son Fadi, 21, has succesfully made the perilous journey to Germany two months ago. He is lucky to have a Syrian passport through his father, else, as a stateless Palestinian, he would have been denied border crossing in Europe.
Many Palestinians live in Daouk, an informal refugee settlement in South Beirut. Illegal structures are being built or added on top of buildings since the official UN camps in Beirut are overcrowded and underfunded.
Iskandar, 29, Dalal’s husband, is also a Syrian-Palestinian refugee. He sleeps during the day, and works at night. Since their residence is illegal in the country, most men work as day labourers to earn their income.
Dalal from the Palestinian refugee camp Alyarmook near Damascus is 23. She fled Syria with her husband Iskandar 2 1/2 years ago when her little girl was barely half a year old. Both parents hope for peace in Syria, they want to return home as soon as possible.
Mehdian was born in Palestine and came to Lebanon with her parents in 1948, fleeing the Arab-Israeli war. She never went to school and doesn’t remember her age. She lives with her 40 year old daughter in a one bedroom basement.
Since the official refugee camps are poverty-stricken, overcrowded and suffer from inadequate basic infrastructure, around 40 percent of the Palestinian refugees live in informal gatherings that fall outside the UNRWA mandate.
Om Shahinaz is the head of a nine-member household in Daouk, an informal settlement in South Beirut, Lebanon. She came from Palestine in 1948, fleeing the Arab-Israeli war and is a stateless refugee since.
Lebanon hosts an estimated 450.000 stateless Palestinians, descendants of the refugees fleeing the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, as well as Syrian-Palestinians forced into second exile since 2012. They constitute one of the world’s longest-established refugee populations and are in limbo since almost 70 years.
Their children are born into statelessness; with many being not even officially registered, their lack of citizenship means a life without prospects or hope. Unable to gain Lebanese citizenship and fully participate in society, they meet numerous discriminations and are denied even the most basic rights.
As unrecognized citizens, they face restrictions to legal employment; they have no right to housing, and limited access to public social services, health care or education. For most Palestinians in Lebanon, living a precarious, marginalized existence has been the only life they have ever known.