Adolescents in Protracted Displacement: Exploring Risks of Age- and Gender-Based Violence Among Palestine Refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and the State of Palestine

Authored by: Elizabeth Presler-Marshall, Bassam Abu Hamad, Sally Youssef, Nicola Jones, Sarah Baird, and Agnieszka Małachowska

Categories: Human Rights, Humanitarian Emergencies
Sub-Categories: Economic Recovery, Human Development, Migration, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Country: Occupied Palestinian Territories
Region: Middle East and North Africa
Year: 2021
Citation: Presler-Marshall, Elizabeth, Bassam Abu Hamad, Sally Youssef, et al. "Adolescents in Protracted Displacement: Exploring Risks of Age- and Gender-Based Violence Among Palestine Refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and the State of Palestine." Gender And Adolescence: Global Evidence. October 2021.

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Executive Summary

Palestine refugees, of whom there are nearly 6 million, primarily live in the countries surrounding the land that is now recognised by most UN member states as the State of Palestine (UNRWA, 2021a). Displaced since 1948, when the birth of the Israeli state forced 80% of the Palestinians living in the area to abandon their property and flee, they are the longest-displaced group of refugees in the world (ibid). Palestine refugees are largely excluded from labour markets, due to blockades and national laws (depending on context), and subsequently have high rates of poverty. Most depend on services and support delivered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and its governmental and non-governmental partners for survival. Already moved out of the limelight by the Syrian crisis, which has diverted international attention and funding for the last decade, support for UNRWA – and Palestinians – was further complicated in 2018, when the Trump administration withdrew US funding that constituted a third of UNRWA’s budget (Aljazeera, 2018). It was tested again in 2020, when the covid-19 pandemic led to an explosion of need (UNRWA, 2020a).

Palestinian adolescents, whether they live in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank and are enduring repeated bouts of conflict with Israel; in Jordan and are coming of age in the midst of the social and economic upheaval following the influx of Syrian refugees over the last decade; or Lebanon and are witnessing the collapse of the government and the economy, face myriad threats to their well-being. These include age- and gender-based violence and exploitation in the home, at school and in the community (Jones et al., 2021; UNFPA, 2021; Abou-Zahr, 2021; Nilsson and Badran, 2021; El-Khodary et al., 2020, 2018; Chabaan et al., 2016; PCBS, 2015; Tiltnes and Zhang, 2013). With the world’s attention elsewhere, however, most of those threats remain largely invisible. This report draws on data collected by the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) research programme to begin addressing evidence gaps and exploring the protection risks facing Palestinian adolescents. Where possible, it pays attention to how the pandemic has amplified and shifted those risks.