New residence rules in Lebanon put Syrian refugees at risk

Watchdog says residence regulations in Lebanon for Syrian refugees will put Syrians at risk of being exploited

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Syrian refugees at Lebanese camps

Human Rights Watch said in a report posted on Tuesday that the rules of residence in Lebanon put Syrian refugees in the country at risk of being exploited and abused.

The 26-page report entitled "I Just Wanted to be Treated like a Person" based on interviews with more than 60 Syrian refugees, lawyers, and humanitarian workers assisting refugees in Lebanon, says that the residency rules adopted in January 2016 will cause many Syrians to lose their status as legal residents.

The report says that only two of the 40 refugees interviewed were able to renew their residence permit.

The watch-dog urged Lebanese authorities to act immediately and make necessary changes to the residence requirement such as cancelling renewal fees and sponsorship requirments.

"These residency regulations are making life impossible for refugees in Lebanon and are pushing them underground," said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director of the NGO.

"The last thing Lebanon needs is a large, undocumented community living at the margins of society, at heightened risk of abuse."

There are almost 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, a country of 4.5 million people.

Syria is currently the number one source of refugees in neighbouring countries and Europe. More than 5.4 million people have fled the country due to the civil war which broke out there in 2011 between the Syrian regime and the rebels.

TRTWorld and agencies