The processing of applications filed by Palestinians (update)

The processing of applications filed by Palestinians (update)

The Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) considers the situation of many Palestinians to be problematic. This applies in particular to Palestinians from Gaza, but also to those from the West Bank or other countries of origin.

If a need for protection is identified, a protection status is granted. This was the case in the past. The CGRS has taken many decisions recognizing refugee status. The CGRS will continue to do so consistently in the future.

Processing no longer suspended

At the beginning of June, the CGRS decided to suspend the processing of applications due to an unclear and strongly changing situation. The CGRS had expected, among other things, that the financial situation of the UNRWA would improve significantly in a relatively short period of time.

It was then announced that the suspension would be temporary, for a very short time.

The situation has evolved in the meantime. Especially the security situation. But the financial situation of the UNRWA remains difficult, although according to the CGRS, the situation is not of such nature that it can be stated that the UNRWA is no longer able to offer assistance and protection.

Because the financial situation of the UNRWA remains difficult and the structural support from the UNRWA is not likely to improve before the end of this year, the CGRS considered it was inappropriate to further suspend processing.

The policy of the CGRS

The fact that the situation is problematic, does not mean that a protection status must be granted to every Palestinian. The recognition of a protection status keeps depending on the individual situation of the applicant.

  • As is the case with applicants from other countries of origin, the existence of a well-founded fear of persecution will be checked individually. If this fear is established, refugee status is granted.
  • For Palestinians for whom a particular individual well-founded fear of persecution is not established and who depend on assistance from the UNRWA, it will be checked whether the individual can still count on assistance from the UNRWA. In accordance with the jurisprudence of the Council for Alien Law Litigation (CALL), the possibility of obtaining assistance will be assessed. This does not mean that refugee status will be granted in all cases. This will still depend on personal circumstances.

For cases in which in the past few weeks, the CGRS had revoked the decision of refusal with an appeal pending befor the CALL, the CGRA will take a new decision in the coming weeks, after a short additional examination. In some cases, a decision of recognition will be taken. In other cases, the previous decision of refusal will be confirmed.

For persons with a protection status in an EU Member State, the policy remains unchanged. The situation of Palestinians will be assessed in the same way as that of applicants from other countries of origin. This means that, in general, a decision of inadmissibility is taken.

Cessation of status may be possible in the future

For cases in which refugee status is granted due to the lack of assistance from the UNRWA (given its current difficult situation), it may be possible that refugee status is ended if in the future (e.g. within a year), it is established that the assistance or the financial situation of the UNRWA is guaranteed again on a permanent basis.

For your information: a decision to end status will always be taken after a new individual assessment.

13 July 2021