Norwegian Refugee Council



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Ahlam Abou Sahyoun is a Palestinian woman from Saida, South Lebanon. She is married and is the mother of two boys and lives with her elderly parents. Ahlam and her husband bought an apartment in Saida, but since a 2001 Lebanese law amendment, as Palestinians they are not allowed to own or register their property. So, they registered it in Ahlam’s sister’s name who as a Jordanian national can register property in her name. Photo: NRC/Christian Jepsen

 By NRC Olivia Kalis - 19-12-2013 - Many Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon live in fear of being forcibly evicted from their homes. An NRC report and photo exhibit gives insight into their situations.


Palestinian refugees often do not know how long they can stay in their homes because they are not allowed to own land. Not being able to rent, own or repair homes that they have lived in for decades, results in serious consequences for Palestinian refugee women and their families. 


It is even worse for female Palestinian refugees who have little hope of owning a home, usually being dependent on their fathers and husbands. As one woman explained, the path of a Palestinian woman is “from the house of her father to the house of her husband.” 


Along with the report NRC Lebanon is now hosting a photo exhibit that provides a glimpse into the lives of four of these women.


Ahlam, a Palestinian woman from South Lebanon bought an apartment with her husband. However, since a 2001 amendment to Lebanese law, as Palestinians they cannot own or register property in Lebanon. So, they registered their home in her sister’s name who as a Jordanian national can legally own property in Lebanon. 


“We do not have a normal family life. My husband has to work in the Emirates because of the remaining payments due on our home. My sister has the Jordanian nationality so we registered the apartment in her name. But what if...?” says Ahlam Abou Sahyoun. 


Since the Syria crisis, Palestinian refugees who have been living in Lebanon for decades have become hosts for refugees fleeing from Syria. Refugees hosting refugees has exacerbated the already difficult housing conditions and has highlighted the lack of property rights for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. 


“Since the Syria crisis started, we have seen Palestinian refugees in Lebanon who have been living in camps and gatherings for decades welcome Palestinian refugees from Syria. We do not know when safe return to Syria will be possible and support is urgently needed to improve the poor living conditions in the overcrowded refugee camps and gatherings for Palestinians in Lebanon. Assisting people to have property rights is a concrete way of providing support,” says Dalia Aranki, NRC’s programme manager.