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|Title:||Socioeconomic rights of refugees in times of crisis: the case of Palestinians in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria|
|Abstract:||This paper is a contribution to discussions on the possible impact of global crises, especially the current financial crisis, on the economic and social rights of Palestinian refugees in host Arab countries. This paper will be limited to discussing the case of Palestinian refugees in Arab states that host the majority of Palestinian refugees1 (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria2 ), but recognizes that the impact of such crises reaches beyond refugees, to citizens and other legal and illegal migrants. Palestinian refugees constitute a unique case study.3 Prolonged exile, statelessness, and Israeli refusal re-admit refugees render their situation extraordinary and unique. Therefore this study and others on Palestinian refugees may not build on conclusions reached in other refugee case studies, and the conclusions reached may not necessarily be applicable in other circumstances, even if in apparently similar experiences. This may explain the large number of studies related to Palestinian refugees,4 including those focusing on their legal status and the rights and freedoms they enjoy in host countries.5 This focus fits largely within broader global interest in issues related to refugees, especially their role under international law.6 For this reason, this paper also contains some general arguments that may apply to other refugees in the concerned countries, or in other parts of the world.7 Interest in the legal status of Palestinian refugees goes beyond the concerned states, and beyond Palestinian refugees themselves, and there are cases in which countries need to take concrete decisions as to whether or not to grant Palestinians asylum status or not.8 This paper distinguishes between legal recognition of economic and social rights and political enforcement. It may rightly be argued that, grosso modo, huge steps have been taken in the legal recognition of economic and social rights since World War II, and especially in the last two decades, on the international and national level, particularly with regard to the codification of these rights in constitutional texts of the expansion of rigid and written constitutions (Saiz 2009, 277-278). Legal recognition does not necessarily mean political enforcement, which is often subject to available resources and may reflect a misconception of economic and social rights by state authorities that may not consider them real legal rights, but rather as political or moral aspirations|
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