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Parliament passes law giving Palestinians right to work

Lebanese lawmakers have passed a law giving full employment rights to Palestinians refugees, lifting earlier work restrictions, an official said Tuesday. The UN estimates some 400,000 Palestinians live in Lebanon.

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AFP - Lebanon's parliament adopted on Tuesday a law granting full employment rights to the roughly 400,000 Palestinian refugees living in the country, a high-ranking official said.

"Parliament approved a bill lifting former restrictions on employment for Palestinian refugees, who will now have the right to work in any field open to foreigners with benefits including social security from their own special fund," the official told AFP.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) estimates Lebanon houses 400,000 Palestinians, though Lebanese officials have said no more than 300,000 refugees actually reside in the country.

For decades, the fate of the refugees has been a thorny issue in Lebanon, dividing Christian and Muslim legislators in the 128-strong parliament, which is equally split between the two confessions.
  

Christian MPs largely fear that granting the refugees the right to own property, among other rights, would be a slippery slope to permanent settlement and giving the mainly Sunni Muslim Palestinians full-fledged citizenship.

The Lebanese constitution prohibits the naturalisation of the refugees.

Palestinian officials have consistently said they refuse permanent resettlement in Lebanon.

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