How many people have been removed from UNRWA registered refugee status over time, and at what point(s) did this happen?
Because the definition of "registered refugee" depends on descendancy through the father, it is possible that none have been removed (removal of the father could remove the children). However, if removed, it would only be due to the death of the registered refugee.
Who Is UNRWA Mandated To Serve?
UNRWA is mandated by the UN General Assembly to serve 'Palestine refugees'. This term was defined in 1952 as any person whose "normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948 and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict." Palestine refugees are persons who fulfil the above definition and descendants of fathers fulfilling the definition.
Not all registered refugees receive assistance.
How Many Palestine Refugees Access UNRWA Services?
As of 2021, Palestine refugees registered as such with the Agency and eligible to access its services within the UNRWA areas of operations (Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip). However, not all registered refugees avail themselves of the Agency’s services. Reasons include - for example - having no need for assistance or having moved outside of UNRWA areas of operations.
In 2020, over 540,000 children were enrolled in UNRWA schools (2020-2021 school year); Social Safety Net Programme assistance reached 390,000 beneficiaries; and 1.5 million affected by conflict, blockade and occupation in the occupied Palestinian territory or the Syria conflict received urgent humanitarian assistance.
The process for removing registered refugees is called deregistration.
UNRWA has resisted deregistration by refugees.
Emphasizing that the community of Palestine refugees from Syria inside Lebanon live in extremely difficult conditions, he said they are actively exploring ways to leave, with some demanding deregistration from UNRWA in the belief that it would offer access to resettlement opportunities available to other refugees from Syria.
- UNRWA explained that recently some Palestine Refugees in Lebanon have attempted to deregister from UNRWA, hoping that this would allow for them to fall under UNHCR's mandate. This shows the level of distress and unfairness that the Palestine Refugees feel subjected to, not having the same rights as any other refugee across the world that fall under the 1951 Convention related to the Status of Refugees. UNRWA has communicated that deregistration in itself will not remove the individual from falling under the mandate of UNRWA.
UNRWA has resisted deregistration for those (approximately 2 million) who have become citizens of other countries.
The representative of Israel asked whether refuges who are resettled and become citizens of another country remain on UNRWA’s books.
Mr. SAUNDERS explained that the Agency’s mandate is to provide relief pending a just and lasting solution to the conflict, and as such, it is for the General Assembly to decide who receives its services. The matter of eligibility is subject to international law and exceeds UNRWA’s mandate, he pointed out.
I have been unable to find any on-line documents where deregistration occurred or has resulted in removal. Furthermore, unlike the UNHCR, there is no on-line handbook for the UNRWA outlining the process for deregistration.