Iraq passes law that 'equates' Palestinian refugees with Iraqis

Iraq passes law that 'equates' Palestinian refugees with Iraqis
Iraq has passed a law that grants more rights to Palestinian refugees who have lived in the war-torn country for more than ten years.
2 min read
10 December, 2020
Iraq is granting rights to Palestinian refugees [Getty]

Iraq's council of representatives approved an amendment that will give Palestinian refugees living in the country for more than a decade equal rights and treatment to Iraqi nationals.

According to the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency Wafa, the amendment to the law means that a Palestinian who has lived in Iraq for ten years now has the same rights and duties as an Iraqi citizen.

However, they will not be given Iraqi nationality, the right to vote, and be able to run for office.

Iraqi departments and institutions took harsh measures against the Palestinians in 2018. A monthly ration card that was granted to Palestinians was withdrawn, leaving many families trapped in poverty.

Retirement benefits for families of deceased Palestinians were also withheld, and Palestinians had to pay hefty fees for healthcare.

The Palestinians in Iraq were also not covered by Law 21, which deals with compensation for victims of crimes committed by US forces during the Iraq occupation. This was seen as one of the biggest blows to the Palestinian diaspora in Iraq.

In response, Secretary-General of Palestine's ruling Fatah Movement, Jibril Rajoub, handed an letter from President Mahmoud Abbas to Iraqi President Barham Salih.

Rajoub, who is on an official visit to Iraq, was welcomed by the Iraqi leader at the Al-Salam Palace in Baghdad, where they dicussed the situation of Palestinians in Iraq, among other issues.

During the meeting, Salih affirmed that Iraq supports a just peace deal that would ensure the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

This follows normalisation agreements between Israel and a number of Arab nations including the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan.

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