Lebanon – Beirut / Augusts 2019
Access Center for Human Rights monitored the human rights situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon since the beginning of 2019, focusing on the issue of forced deportation of Syrian refugees, which it describes as the most serious abuse the refugees are facing in Lebanon right now.
This report explains how forced deportations are carried out from Lebanon and analyzes the systematic policy of the Lebanese authorities to push refugees to leave the country and return to Syria. It also clarifies the role of the media in shaping public opinion against Syrian refugees, and the marketing of most media outlets saying that Syria has become safe without relying on logical analysis and realistic facts. The report also discusses the international law and conventions which the State of Lebanon should abide by not forcibly returning anyone living on its territory.
Starting mid- 2017, the official discriminatory speech in Lebanon escalated against the presence of Syrian refugees, coinciding with Syrian authorities’ allegations that these refugees’ areas have become “safe” for them to return and settle without any fears. Lebanese authorities did not hesitate to translate the speech into systematic policy pressuring refugees in their safety, livelihood and shelter to push them into “leaving voluntarily” back to their neighboring country. Opposing its obligations under international and local laws not to deport asylum seekers to a country where they could face death, torture or oppression, Lebanese authorities have persisted in its policy to deport several Syrian Refugees, entering through Beirut international airport, even deporting refugees who have been living in Lebanon for years. This policy has been mainly executed by the Lebanese general security services, after a decision issued by the Higher Defense Council on the 15th of April 2019, this policy threatens a wide category of Syrian refugees who have illegally entered Lebanon before said date (24/04/2019) with nothing to prove so, this has been highlighted by 8 Lebanese humanitarian organizations in a position paper officially submitted to the Lebanese authorities currently informed of the legality of “deportation”. Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR) was able to document 16 deportation cases in April 2019, 7 others during January of 2019, in addition to 6 informal deportation (abduction) cases of Syrian refugees unlawfully delivered to Syrian security services during May and June of 2019.
Local and international human rights non-governmental organizations have expressed serious concerns over the arbitrary measures Lebanon is taking to deport Syrian refugees back to Syria. ACHR and its partner organizations, led by Human Rights Watch, issued a joint statement on the 24th of May 2019 documenting some of these deportations, and expressing deep concerns of putting these refugees at risk of death, torture and oppression in Syria due to the emergency policy of forced deportation in Lebanon.
ACHR continues to give its utmost efforts along with international and local partner human rights organizations to provide alternatives that stop these violations against Syrian refugees in host countries. The center also urges the international community and the rapporteurs attached to its Secretary General for arbitrary arrest, forced disappearance, modern forms of racism, torture and all kinds of human rights violations. ACHR also urges the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to halt these violations against refugees who are deprived of their basic rights safeguarded by the United Nations’ charters, covenants and decrees. The basic right of not being deported to a country where they are at risk of being killed, tortured, oppressed or deprived of a safe and dignified life.
Research: Ahmed Samy Lotf – Nabila AL Hamwi – Mohammad Hasan
Legal Review and Audit: Diala Chehadeh
Preparation and Editing: Mohammad Hasan
Translation: Wissam Tayar