Ken Roth, head of Human Rights Watch, tweeted an article by former UK foreign secretary David Miliband:
Far more humane to let refugees integrate in society than to confine them in dead-end camps. https://t.co/YJqW8yucJv pic.twitter.com/APUVvuh89B— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) May 15, 2016
The article says:
David Miliband, the former UK foreign secretary, has called for an end to the refugee camp system and the reform of humanitarian institutions “that were designed for yesterday’s problems, not tomorrow’s”.Yet HRW has not once called for Arab countries to permanently integrate second, third and fourth generation Palestinian "refugees" whose numbers keep increasing every day.
Wealthy nations should accept the most vulnerable 10% of the world’s 19.5 million refugees, Miliband said, and provide economic support to less wealthy countries to integrate new arrivals as full-time residents.
Referring to the case of Dadaab in Kenya, the world’s biggest refugee camp, which houses 330,000 Somalis across the border from their home country, Miliband, who is the president of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), said there should be a “new deal” for poorer countries that host refugees.
Why is the cost of hosting refugees falling on the world's poorest states?
“The new bargain is that a small number of people – probably up to 10% of refugees, the most vulnerable – are relocated to the richer countries, to the west and elsewhere, because of their medical needs, because they’re orphans etc,” he said.
“But then, [for] the large majority of people, the only real hope for them is to become productive residents of the countries that they’ve fled to.
“That’s a massive call on the countries concerned, but if we can ensure they get international financial support and build up their economies, then it becomes a chance to avoid the kind of Dadaab situation of long-term housing [of] people in places that become magnets for criminality, never mind for terrorism.”
HRW has a fact sheet listing all the ways Arab countries discriminate against Palestinians. In one "legacy" document that was written in the 1990s, HRW does admit
All nations should assist in finding durable solutions to refugee problems. Ideally, this consists of giving each displaced person three options: local integration, third-country resettlement, and voluntary repatriation. In the Middle East context, countries where Palestinians now reside should offer them the option of full local integration. Palestinian families, many having lived in these countries for more than fifty years, have built lives there which they should be granted the option of continuing to lead. Similarly, the international community should be generous in offering the possibility of third-country resettlement to those who might desire it, and in providing aid to assist the permanent settlement of those who choose to remain in the region as well as those who choose to exercise their right to return.
But then adds:
So even in HRW lukewarmly allows that Arab countries should, ideally, offer this option, they are vehemently against the idea that fully integrated Palestinians ever abandon their wish to destroy Israel by telling them that they alone have a permanent and everlasting "right to return" to lands they never lived in.
Neither the options of local integration and third-country resettlement, nor their absence, should extinguish the right to return.
Yet even though HRW claims that every refugee has a right of return forever, in fact only Palestinians are associated with this right. HRW doesn't call for refugees from the same time period in Pakistan and India to have the "right of return."
In the 20 years or so since writing that, HRW has been utterly silent about demanding Arab countries integrate Palestinians into the societies where they have been treated like second-class aliens for nearly 70 years.
But now with a brand new refugee crisis, of people who have been forced out of their homes in only the past few years, return isn't even mentioned and resettlement is pushed as the number one option.
A 2003 HRW fact sheet about the "right to return" in Croatia shows HRW's hypocrisy:
When displaced persons are unable to return to their homes because their property has been destroyed or claims against a current occupant are unsuccessful, they are entitled to compensation.Meaning that the "right to return" is only the right to return to one's specific family home, not to have descendants have the right to move to a country en masse.
Yet this idea that the right to return only exists when the specific property is still there is completely missing from any discussion about the Palestinian "right to return," which is considered a blanket right as well as an individual right, with no limitations on circumstances.
Ken Roth is once again proven to be a hypocrite, who only supports "return" for one set of people and who is all but silent on giving them the right to nationality in the countries in which they were born.
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