Saturday, May 2, 2009


"Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." Article 13(2) "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property." Article 17(2) Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Good news on the refugee front: "The European Court of Justice has awarded a Greek Cypriot refugee the right to win back land he was forced to flee when war partitioned the island in 1974... About 200,000 Greek Cypriots were forcibly displaced when the Turkish army invaded the island and seized its northern third after an Athens-based coup aimed at uniting it with Greece. Historically inhabited by Greeks, northern Cyprus was home to very few Turkish Cypriots. Before the invasion prompted a population exchange on either side of the island's UN-patrolled ceasefire line, land registries show that about 82% of properties in the area belonged to Greeks." (Cyprus unity is all about real estate, Helena Smith, Guardian/Sydney Morning Herald, 30/4/09)

Meanwhile, in occupied Palestine aka Israel: "As Israel celebrated its 61st anniversary, some 2,000 people demonstrated on Wednesday for Arab-Israelis' right of return to the lands from which they were chased in 1948. The protest took place on the site of Al-Kafrayn, an Arab village among the more than 500 that were razed by Israeli forces at the time of the creation of the Jewish state in 1948... 'We have come to tell Israelis we will never forget', Fatima Chalabi, one of the protesters, told AFP. Israel has 1.2 million Arab citizens, the descendants of the 160,000 who remained after the creation of the Jewish state. On May 15, Palestinians and Arab-Israelis mark the anniversary of the Nakba - Catastrophe - the term they use to describe the creation of the state of Israel on three-quarters of the territory of historic Palestine. Some 760,000 Arabs were expelled or fled from their homes during the 1948 war, giving rise to a UN-registered refugee population scattered across the Middle East that today numbers more than 4.6 million." (Arab-Israelis march for right of return, AFP, 30/4/09)

And in the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon, according to a poll of 500 Palestinian refugees conducted last month by Beirut's Center for Research & Information, 89% of respondents supported the right of return to their homes and lands in occupied Palestine aka Israel.

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