Documenting Dispossession and Exile
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This study examines the use of international practice, by exploring the notion that international standards and precedents that have been applied to refugee situations in other cases can give guidance to Palestinian refugee registration data, in reaching future claims for compensation. Three broad questions are put forward in this study: 1. To what extent can international practice as adopted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in its registration and management practices offer a constructive perspective on Palestinian refugee registration procedures and data? 2. What is the relevance of the experience gained in the settlement of refugee claims in international settings, such as the practice of international Claim Commissions in search of guidelines for the planning of a future Palestinian Claim Commission? 3. Can existing Palestinian refugee registration data be constructed in a suitable way for the preparation of future claims? On a broader level, the study will seek to explore two questions. Firstly, can Palestinian refugee registration data point towards findings that could contribute, by making available to negotiators, the quantitative data necessary for determining claims? Secondly, can international guidelines provide a framework for the use of Palestinian registration data in confronting refugee claims and losses? The study also takes on a technical analysis. The case studies subject to the analysis are Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Kosovo. Via this approach, the research will study the general norms and procedures adopted by two Claims Commissions to resolve refugee claims. Insights are then made into the possible transfer of such procedures to the Palestinian refugee case. In doing so, a clearer picture of how a future Palestinian Claims Commission could be established, and how existing Palestinian refugee registration data could be assembled, is then examined. This thesis argues that one of the major gaps in research on Palestinian refugees is that it has not benefited from the experience of international lesson-learning through the analysis of other refugee cases and especially the utilization of the experience of UNHCR and precedents set by international Claim Commissions. The study’s main conclusion is that international guidelines and precedents have significant benefits for preparing Palestinian refugee registration data, in reaching future claims for compensation within the Arab-Israeli negotiations.
PhD in Politics