The Undersecretary of the Department of Refugee Affairs in the Palestine Liberation Organization, Anwar Hamam, stated that the department is preparing to commemorate the Nakba within a major event at the United Nations, where the President issued a decree to form a committee to commemorate the Nakba for this year, which includes all factions in the PLO and national activities concerned with the refugee issue. Therefore, the department is working to prepare for the commemoration on a national, regional, and global level to involve the largest possible number of our people and supporters. Hamam noted that a series of meetings have been held with everyone in several areas, and more meetings will be held to prepare for the event in a manner befitting the issue of Palestinian refugees and the Nakba of Palestine.
Hamam added that after the formation of the committee, an initial meeting was held in Ramallah and another meeting was held in Beirut. Currently, work is underway to hold a meeting in Gaza to prepare for the event and turn it into a global event. The Department of Refugee Affairs, the Department of Expatriate Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the factions are making a comprehensive plan in which everyone participates for adoption in a unified manner.
There will be several gatherings uniformly held with President Mahmoud Abbas delivering his speech at the United Nations to commemorate the Nakba. Gatherings will take place in several Arab and foreign countries, and work is underway to determine the locations of simultaneous gatherings to draw attention to the world to the issue of Palestinian refugees and the passing of 75 years of their cause he said.
Hamam stated that the competition is open to everyone from our people, brothers, friends, and supporters of our cause, in accordance with the conditions of the competition that will be held according to high professional standards. A committee will be formed to select the best works and specialists and professionals in the field will be selected for the competition. He called on everyone to promote and advertise the announcement and to encourage our creators to participate because we believe that great ideas come from creative people in the Palestinian cultural field. Hamam expects that there will be a high turnout for the competition, especially after the great interaction that social media has witnessed following the announcement of the competition. He also stated that the level of participation will be appropriate for our people and their suffering, as well as their creativity in portraying the Palestinian reality.
Hamam invited creators to follow the social media pages of the Department of Refugee Affairs to learn about the competition dates for each field. The poster will be ready before the commemoration of the Nakba to be printed, and the films and pictures will be promoted after the commemoration of the Nakba in a way that serves the refugee issue.
Hamam also discussed the Refugee Affairs Department tour to Lebanon, headed by Dr. Ahmad Abu Holi, who led a PLO high-level delegation to observe and support our people in the refugee camps in Lebanon.
He pointed out that the situation in Syria and Lebanon is very difficult, where the unemployment rates inside the camps exceed 90%. As a result of this reality, the Department of Refugee Affairs seeks to achieve some projects under the directives of President Mahmoud Abbas to work within the camps, especially in the camps in Lebanon. Therefore, a package of projects has been accomplished, in addition to other work in cooperation with the Palestinian embassy in Lebanon and with the national factions and popular committees in the camps. He expressed his belief that the camps in Lebanon represent a priority for the Department, and thus this effort and work came, where work began to accomplish these projects, which are related to major requirements such as water, electricity, and other basic needs such as cemeteries, where the camps suffer from a crisis of burying the dead, and there is cooperation to solve all the problems faced by our people in the camps.
Hamam's statements to PNN come after the announcement of the annual "Right of Return" award for 2023, launched by the Department of Refugee Affairs in the context of being a specialized award in the field of defending the rights and issues of refugees, shedding light on the catastrophe of the Palestinian people, and the social conditions that the refugee lives and suffers from, especially in the camps, due to the catastrophe and its repercussions that have extended since 1948 until today. This award aims to contribute to creating a great interaction among our people, at the creative level.