Location of all Palestinian Refugee Camps as of Dec. 2003 (ProCon.org Map, created using information from the UNRWA):
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) website (accessed May 18, 2005), under "Refugees: Where do the Refugees Live?" contained the following:
"A camp, according to UNRWA's working definition, is a plot of land placed at the disposal of UNRWA by the host government for accommodating Palestine refugees and for setting up facilities to cater to their needs. Areas not designated as such are not considered camps. However, UNRWA also maintains schools, health centres and distributions centres in areas outside camps where Palestine refugees are concentrated, such as Yarmouk near Damascus.
The plots of land on which camps were set up are either state land or, in most cases, land leased by the host government from local landowners. This means that the refugees in camps do not 'own' the land on which their shelters were built, but have the right to 'use' the land for a residence.
UNRWA's responsibility in the camps is limited to providing services and administering its installations. The Agency does not own, administer or police the camps as this is the responsibility of the host authorities. UNRWA has a camp services office in each camp, which the residents visit to update their records or to raise issues relating to Agency services with the Camp Services Officer (CSO). The CSO, in turn, refers refugee concerns and petitions to the UNRWA administration in the area in which the camp is located."