Question of Palestine home
Situation au Liban/Militants /camps de réfugiés - 17e rapport du Secrétaire général sur l'application de la résolution 1559 (2004) du Conseil de sécurité - Rapport (extraits)
18 April 2013
Seventeenth semi-annual report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004)
1. The current report is my seventeenth semi-annual report on the implementation of Security Council
resolution 1559 (2004)
. It reviews and assesses the process of the implementation of the resolution since my last report issued on 17 October 2012
). It notes the absence of further tangible progress on key provisions of the resolution, and highlights concerns that continue to threaten Lebanon’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence, despite Lebanon’s careful policy of disassociation from the Syrian crisis.
II. Implementation of resolution 1559 (2004)
C. Disbanding and disarmament of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias
29. Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias within the country continue to operate outside of the control of the Government in serious violation of resolution 1559 (2004). While several groups across the political spectrum in Lebanon possess weapons outside Government control, the armed component of Hizbullah is the most significant and most heavily armed Lebanese militia in the country. The maintenance of arms by Hizbullah and other groups poses a serious challenge to the State’s ability to exercise full sovereignty and authority over its territory. In addition, a series of Palestinian armed groups continue to operate in the country inside and outside the refugee camps. Further, there have been unconfirmed reports in recent months of possible infiltration or presence of extremist elements in Lebanon, in particular Jabhat an-Nusra.
34. During the period under review, the security situation in the Palestinian camps remained tense. In the Ain el-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp there were heightened tensions on 23 January and again on 18 and 19 February between groups respectively loyal to the regime and the opposition in the Syrian Arab Republic. The clashes were relatively limited, and contained by the Palestinian security committee in the camp. On 11 and 12 March, fighting between Palestinian factions was fierce and caused one death and at least 13 injuries. On 22 January, the Government of Lebanon committed to fund the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee for three years. Leaders in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon have shown unity in working together, and with the Lebanese authorities, in order to maintain order against the backdrop of the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic.
35. Humanitarian conditions for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon remain dire, while the influx of almost 40,000 additional Palestinian refugees displaced from the Syrian Arab Republic into the already extremely cramped camps in Lebanon has imposed a heavy new burden on the inhabitants and on the efforts of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to assist them. Palestinian refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic have been staging daily demonstrations in front of the UNRWA office in Beirut, demanding more assistance. The United Nations has continued to urge the Lebanese authorities to improve the conditions in which Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon, notably by facilitating their access to the official labour market through the implementation of outstanding legislation. This should be done without prejudice to the eventual resolution of the Palestinian refugee question in the context of a comprehensive peace agreement in the region, and bearing in mind the detrimental effects of dismal living conditions on the wider security situation.
36. The presence of Palestinian armed groups outside the camps continues to challenge the ability of Lebanon to exercise full sovereignty over its territory. In spite of the decision taken in 2006 by the National Dialogue, and confirmed in subsequent sessions, no progress was made with regard to dismantling the military bases of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)-General Command (GC) and Fatah al-Intifadah in the country. All but one of these bases are located along the Syrian-Lebanese border. Their presence continues to undermine Lebanese sovereignty and governmental authority and makes delineation of the border more difficult. It poses a serious challenge, given the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, to the effective control of the eastern border between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. I have reiterated my calls upon the Lebanese authorities for the implementation of earlier decisions of the National Dialogue, specifically those related to the dismantling of PFLP-GC and Fatah al-Intifada military bases, and upon the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to cooperate with these efforts in good faith.
43. I am deeply concerned by the situation of Palestinian refugees in the camps and the additional strains that the Syrian crisis has placed on the camps in Lebanon. In this context, I welcome the unity shown by leaders in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon in working together, and with the Lebanese authorities, to maintain order against the backdrop of the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic. I urge as a matter of priority more substantive Lebanese-Palestinian dialogue to improve conditions and move towards the implementation of legislation to ease their employment. Such progress would not prejudice the eventual resolution of the Palestinian refugee question in the context of a comprehensive regional peace agreement. I reiterate my call on donors to support UNRWA and its vital work in providing services to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.