Twenty Lebanese and international human rights organizations have united in a call to halt the deportation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon to areas controlled by the Assad regime. They stressed that such deportations violate the principle of non-refoulement and emphasized that courts should prohibit any deportation that amounts to forced return.
In a joint statement, the organizations firmly stated that Lebanese authorities must refrain from implementing discriminatory measures and using derogatory language towards Syrian refugees. They stressed the importance of respecting legal principles and ensuring that individuals at risk of deportation have the opportunity to consult with a lawyer and meet with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The organizations also urged the Lebanese authorities to safeguard refugees’ right to protection from deportation by providing them access to a specialized court.
Highlighting recent actions by the Lebanese army, the rights organizations pointed out that hundreds of Syrians have been deported to their home country, where they face the imminent risk of persecution or torture. The organizations firmly declared that forcibly removing men, women, and children from their homes in the early hours of the morning and handing them over to the government they fled from lacks any justification.
The statement also highlighted the deliberate mismanagement of Lebanon’s economic crisis by the authorities, leading to the impoverishment and deprivation of rights for millions. Instead of implementing much-needed reforms, the Lebanese authorities have opted to use refugees as scapegoats to deflect attention from their own failures, according to the organizations.
Furthermore, the rights organizations expressed concern over the rise of anti-refugee rhetoric, fueled by misinformation, which contributes to violence and discrimination against refugees. They urged media outlets and political figures to prioritize the protection of the rights of all individuals in Lebanon, including refugees, and called for an end to any incitement of violence against them.
The organizations’ statement also shed light on the Lebanese army’s raids on the homes of Syrian refugees in various neighborhoods throughout Lebanon, including Mount Lebanon, Jounieh, Qab Elias, and Bourj Hammoud. These raids were followed by immediate deportations, although many of the forcibly returned individuals are registered with the UNHCR.
(Source: SOC’s Media Department)