Salim Idris, the coordinator of the Office of Refugee Affairs in the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), has welcomed Amnesty International’s appeal to the Lebanese authorities to stop forcibly deporting Syrian refugees from Lebanon to Syria. There is a high risk that the deportees will be subjected to direct arrest and torture in the dungeons of the Assad regime.
Idris stressed that forced returns violate international law, which prohibits states from returning individuals to a place where they may be at risk of arrest, torture, or physical harm. He also pointed out that many Syrian refugees have been arrested upon their arrival in areas controlled by the regime.
Amnesty International on Tuesday said that the Lebanese authorities must immediately stop forcibly deporting Syrian refugees back to Syria, amid fears that these individuals are at risk of torture or persecution at the hands of the Assad regime upon return.
“It is extremely alarming to see the army deciding the fate of refugees, without respecting due process or allowing those facing deportation to challenge their removal in court or seek protection. No refugee should be sent back to a place where their life will be at risk,” said Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Lebanon is obligated under the customary international law principle of non-refoulement not to return anyone to a country where they would face a threat of torture or persecution. Instead of living in fear after escaping atrocities in Syria, refugees living in Lebanon should be protected from arbitrary raids and unlawful deportations.”
Amnesty International documented horrific violations committed by Assad regime intelligence officers against 66 Syrian refugees, including 13 children, in a report issued in September 2021. Most of these children were forcibly returned from Lebanon. (Source: SOC’s Media Department)