Thursday Law Report: Palestinians Receiving Unrwa Assistance Not Entitled to Refugee Status

Article excerpt

10 October 2002

El-Ali v Secretary of State for the Home Department; Daraz v Secretary of State for the Home Department ([2002] EWCA Civ 1103)

Court of Appeal, Civil Division (Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice May and Lord Justice Laws) 26 July 2002

ARTICLE 1D of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 did not apply to two men born, one in Kuwait and the other in Lebanon, of Palestinian parents, over 20 years after the Convention was agreed, each of whom was registered with and enjoyed the assistance of the United Nations Relief Works Agency in the Lebanon.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appellants' appeals against the refusal of their claims to asylum.

The issue which arose on two conjoined appeals was whether article 1D of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 had any application to two men born of Palestinian parents over 20 years after the Convention was agreed, one in Kuwait and the other in Lebanon. Each claimant was registered with and enjoyed the assistance of Unrwa in the Lebanon, but each had come to the United Kingdom contending that he could not reasonably be expected to continue to live in the Lebanon.

Each claimant claimed that he was entitled to be treated as a refugee by virtue of the provisions of article 1D, which provided:

This Convention shall not apply to persons who are at present receiving from organs or agencies of the United Nations other than the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees protection or assistance. When such protection or assistance has ceased for any reason, without the position of such persons being definitively settled in accordance with the relevant resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations,

these persons shall ipso facto be entitled to the benefits of this Convention. …