Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, Lebanon has received ever-increasing numbers of Syrian citizens and Palestinian refugees living in Syria who were seeking refuge. With almost one and a half million refugees out of a population of four million, Lebanon has the highest proportion of refugees world-wide, and one of the highest in absolute numbers.
The country has received more refugees from Syria than the entire European Union. PAX and ALEF believe that a lack of political will and courage to achieve a drastic improvement in the situation of refugees from Syria in Lebanon could have serious consequences, not only for the security of refugees, but also for the Middle East and Europe.
The Lebanese human rights organization ALEF and PAX conclude that the underlying motive of the official policy towards Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is to deliberately increase their hardship so as to encourage their departure from the country. While some might take the risk to return to Syria, many more will actually try to reach other countries, in particular Europe. The tensions could lead to further destabilization of Lebanon.
ALEF and PAX, while inviting the Lebanese authorities to respect their duties under international refugee and human rights law, recognize that Lebanon is facing an unprecedented challenge and cannot be expected to handle the mass influx of refugees from Syria on its own.
The orderly resettlement of a substantial element of the refugees is an absolute necessity for any sustainable solution.
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