On this day in 1982, the Christian Phalange militia stormed the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon and began the massacre of up to 3,500 Palestinian civilians. The militiamen targeted men and women, the elderly and children.
The massacre took place under the approving eye of Israeli forces, and caused international outrage, with the UN General Assembly declaring it an ‘act of genocide’ the same year.
On this day, every year, survivors commemorate the massacre- these are survivors who have lost their children, spouses, parents and other family members in the most violent and ruthless way. They carry the trauma of loss with them every day and have yet to see justice for the atrocities that they have seen.
In Sabra and Shatila, survivors are facing worsening living conditions. Refugee camps are squalid and dangerous, families live in small, cramped spaces with little electricity and no ventilation. Sanitary conditions are poor and medications are in short supply.
The commemoration of Sabra and Shatila massacre is powerful reminder of just how vulnerable Palestinian refugees are. The Covid-19 Pandemic and economic instability across Lebanon are causing even more suffering and uncertainty.
Survivors of the Sabra Shatila massacre have the right to see justice for the crimes committed against them and their loved ones. They deserve to be heard as they commemorate the massacre, 38 years on. Their human rights, and the rights of all refugees across Lebanon, must be protected.