The director of the Palestinian Women's Union in Belgium began by talking about the situation of Palestinian refugees in Europe, where she said that since the beginning of 2017, many Palestinians have been forced to leave after the wars that took place, especially in the Gaza Strip. Since that time, there have been successive waves of refugees who arrive in difficult conditions, and there are humanitarian cases and separated families.
She added that the positive side is that most European countries are equipped to receive these cases, as there are social institutions and services that accompany families and reunite them, taking into consideration health and psychological conditions and providing them with services for stability.
Wafi said that most of the cases that arrived in Belgium at the beginning of 2017-2018 obtained residency permits, their status was settled, and they began to obtain Belgian citizenship. As for the cases that came between the years 2020-2021, the Corona pandemic complicated the social, financial and health situation in Europe, which led to a reconsideration of European policy with regard to refugees.
Wafi pointed to the current existence of groups without legal residence and said that these groups are of interest to them as an institution in Belgium because they lose their rights to treatment and education and cannot enter the work circle provided by the Belgian government. She emphasized the role of the Palestinian Women's Union and other institutions with regard to these groups.
According to the situation of the Conference of Palestinians Abroad in Europe, Wafi wished to work more on introducing the conference, its objectives and structure in order for people to join it and to participate in its work, after getting to know its directions.
Finally, Wafi spoke about the role played by the Palestinian Women's Union in Belgium, saying that it relates to women and children, meaning that its goal is social, recreational and heritage rather than political and focuses on transmitting heritage through entertainment, heritage and folklore activities such as Dabkeh lessons for children, camps, trips and gatherings on Palestinian feasts and occasions. These works aim to instill the Palestinian identity among children growing abroad and to integrate the new arrivals with the Palestinian children in Belgium. She added that the experiences were beautiful and enjoyable, and that they stopped a year and a half ago on the instructions of the Ministry of Health to reduce the Corona pandemic.
Wafi concluded by wishing that social activities would return after the vaccination campaign, so that the Palestinian Women's Union could once again create beautiful new memories for the children to benefit from.
Director of the Palestinian Women's Union in Belgium