Although the civil war in Lebanon was over in 1990, the building in which the DRA is located did not undergo significant renovation before 2011. The offices were rehabilitated and equipped. An exemplary waiting-hall (reception) has been established and furnished to receive the refugees in a professionally respectful manner. Every visiting refugee would take a number and wait for his/her turn according to an organized queuing system. A wheelchair accessible corridor was set up to ameliorate the service provided to the physically disabled refugees.
Cameras were installed to observe the customer-oriented performance of employees and to eliminate any possible illegal act. Moreover, a complaints-management mechanism has been established in line with the Citizen’s Charter that called for “putting things right”. Complaints filed by the Palestinian refugees started to be handled in a timely manner. Most of the complaints were about the late registry of births (when parents fail to register their newly born children, but rather wait for years to pass-by before they take the step). The DRA used to turn down any late request for registration. The DRA decided to tackle the issue by facilitating the late registration of newly born Palestinian refugees. Requests for registration that are late up to twelve years are processed by the DRA according to a management decision that was issued to solve the problem.
A special Guide has been developed and published to explain the transactions related to the civil status of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. The Guide clarifies the role and structure of the DRA, the types of transactions, the documents that must be submitted to complete each of the transactions, the fees that must be paid to the postal service company (LIBANPOST) in case the refugee decides to use its service. The transactions include the issuance of IDs, birth certificates for children born in Lebanon, birth certificates for children born abroad, divorce certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates and copies that substitute lost documents. The Guide was written in plain language. Forty thousand hard copies have been distributed to the refugees. An electronic copy has been posted on the website of the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (www.moim.gov.lb).
The Palestinian refugees have been provided with two options to receive civil status services. The first option was to report directly to the DRA in Beirut. The second option was to request the service at any of the available stations of the main postal service company in Lebanon (LIBANPOST) that are located in the different regions. Once the transaction is completed, the refugee concerned receives a notification message on his/her mobile phone. The transaction will then be collected at the same postal station. The latter has become a single-point of service for the Palestinian refugees.
As for the lost information about the refugees due to the destruction of records, the DRA has intensified its efforts to restore the lost pieces of information by collecting the available documents that are possessed by the refugees themselves. This restoration process contributed to the re-building of the refugees’ files. Around 75% of the information about the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon has been restored, knowing that their total number in Lebanon is 480,000.
In order to mitigate the risk of losing records, backup data has been established by microfilming every single record. The old records have undergone restoration prior to microfilming. All the documents that are submitted by the refugees are scanned by the DRA.