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  • "I came to Lebanon from Palestine after the war against Israel in 1967. I was only one year old, and my family didn't bring their identity paper. Today I still don't have valid ID. Before Danish Refugee Council helped me. They gave me this letter, ”To whom it may concern, Danish Refugee Council is supporting Mr. Marwan Taher El Abed by providing him with the necessary aid to legalize his status in Lebanon” it says. They put pressure on the Lebanese authorities to make them renew my temporary identity card. Every year it was renewed.

    It's over now. Suddenly they didn't want to renew it, they demanded evidence that I am who I say I am. I have a whole bunch of papers, but non of them are valid. Two months ago they put me in prison for not having papers. I was in prison for a month, my wife had to borrow money for the taxi in order to visit me. In the end they let me go, said to me that I should stay here in Rashedieh. They gave me a temporary permission for one week so that I could enter through the camp's checkpoint, but this permission expired now. It's like a prison here.

    I have two girls, they are two and three years old. Their identity papers depend on mine, so they are also without valid ID. Maya, my oldest girl, is sick in her liver. Her medicine cost six-seven dollars every day. I myself have diabetes, I also need medicine. Because we don't have ID we can't have help from UNRWA, and it's not possible for me to work. Before I worked as a taxi driver, but I can't leave the camp without papers, and I can't work in the fields because my legs were smashed in 1985 in Ein el-Helwe refugee camp. Back then World Service Authority gave me an ID card so I could go to Cyprus in order to have an operation in my leg. Today I can walk, but not without difficulties and pain. I've borrowed money from different organisations, and once in a while we get a little from Fateh. The money from Fateh I spend on paying back the loans, and my wife's family help us with food.

    The people from Denmark helped us organize our home and make it nice. Actually we don't own it, but we have the right to live here. An older woman lived here before we moved in. She handed over the house to us, but we don't have a contract. Now the Islamist people want to take over the house, their plan is to make a mosque here. They offered us 6000 dollars, but it's not enough to get a new home, and money is useless for us if we don't have a home. I am afraid we will become homeless. When you have no identity papers, it's difficult to get help. It's like being dead every day."

    Told by Marwan, 44 years.
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