Change of policy regarding asylum applications from Palestinians from Gaza

Until recently, the Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) usually granted refugee status to persons coming from Gaza. This is no longer the case.

The evolution of the situation in the Gaza Strip justifies a revision of the CGRS’s policy regarding asylum applications from Palestinians from Gaza. The situation in Gaza is still precarious and problematic for many inhabitants but not for all. Hence the need to assess in depth every asylum application on its individual merits. Whether international protection will be granted or not depends on the individual situation of the applicant.

An important new element in this context is the real possibility to return from Egypt. In the first half of 2018, the Rafah border crossing was closed, as a result of which returns from Egypt to Gaza were almost impossible. The border crossing has been open again for several months now. Moreover, Egyptian security services are closely patrolling the North Sinai region. The possibility of returning is an important element for the assessment of the fear and the risk upon return under article 1D of the Refugee Convention.

The CGRS permanently monitors the situation in Gaza. If this situation changes, the CGRS will change its policy again.

As a basic principle, the CGRS continues to use the principle that people in need of protection will be granted protection (refugee status or subsidiary protection). When granting protection, the CGRS takes into account the actual situation after a thorough assessment of all the evidence.

05 December 2018