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Sign-On Request for Lebanon and Gaza Protected Status

Washington, DC | September 6, 2006 | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is seeking your organization’s support in its pending request to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to the nationals of Lebanon and residents of the Gaza Strip. TPS would allow nationals of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip to remain in the United States on a temporary basis to ensure that they are not returned to an area rife with violence, dwindling access to water, and limited medical and food supplies.
ADC’s administrative request, filed on July 24, 2006 (See: https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=2867) calls on Secretaries Chertoff and Rice to designate Lebanon and the Gaza Strip for TPS due to the severe ongoing humanitarian crisis in both Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. ADC has had discussions about this request with officials from both the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State.
In light of the continuing crisis, ADC is renewing its request and asking for your organization’s support of the following letter. Please contact Leila Laoudji at the ADC Legal Department (llaoudji@adc.org) by NOON (EST) on Thursday September 14, 2006, to endorse the letter and support the request.
Dear Secretary Chertoff / Rice:
In light of the continuing humanitarian crisis in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, we, the undersigned local and national civil and human rights organizations, are writing in support of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s (ADC) July 24, 2006 request for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Designation for the citizens of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
Continuing Humanitarian Crisis in Lebanon:
Lebanon continues to face a humanitarian crisis despite the August 14th, 2006 ceasefire due to the destruction of thousands of civilian homes, the destruction of the country’s infrastructure, and the continuing air and sea blockade. At least 1,183 Lebanese civilians died as a result of the conflict, and according to UNICEF, one third of the civilian casualties have been children. The United Nations estimates that 15, 000 homes have been destroyed with an additional 7,500 homes that were damaged. The bombings and the destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure has caused the displacement of 970,000 Lebanese nationals. Water mains, wells, storage tanks, power plants, pumping stations and water treatment works have been severely damaged throughout the country but especially in Southern Lebanon further aggravating humanitarian conditions including access to clean water and medical treatment. Due to the ongoing sea and air blockade and the heavy damages incurred by Beirut Airport, traveling to and from Lebanon remains difficult if not impossible. In addition, the severe damage or destruction of Lebanon’s roads and bridges, further complicate the return of civilians to their homes and access to food supplies and clean water.
Current Humanitarian Crisis in the Gaza Strip:
While the world’s focus has rightly been focused on Lebanon’s humanitarian crisis, the situation in the Gaza Strip continues to worsen. In addition to the concerns mentioned in our first letter (see attached), the number of civilian casualties continues to grow. According to the United Nations, more than 200 Gaza Strip civilians have been killed, more than a quarter of which have been children. The recent August 15, 2006 closure of the Karni crossing preventing aid from reaching the densely populated Gaza Strip has only exacerbated Gaza’s humanitarian crisis. The United Nations recent report states that since June 28, 2006, the Israeli Air Force has launched at least 267 air attacks on the densely populated Gaza Strip destroying more than 300 homes, hundreds of greenhouses and its civilian infrastructure. The destruction of Gaza’s powerplants and bridges leave more than one million Gazans with very limited access to food and water with 70% of the population relying on food aid.
On behalf of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and undersigned local and national organizations, we renew our request and urge you, Secretary Chertoff, to designate Lebanon and the Gaza Strip for Temporary Protected Status to ensure the safe return of their nationals. We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and your staff to further discuss this matter.
Attachment: Letter dated July 24, 2006 from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) requesting Temporary Protected Status for nationals of the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. See: https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=2867
Sincerely,
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)