Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR) strongly condemns the recent mass forced deportations of Syrian refugees by the Lebanese authorities. These operations were carried out arbitrarily without considering the legal and political status of these refugees in Syria, thus violating international human rights law.
In two separate incidents, the Lebanese army conducted the mass deportation of 29 Syrian refugees in Haret Al-Sakher – Jounieh and 35 Syrian refugees in Wadi Khaled in Northern Lebanon. The refugees were subjected to ill-treatment in inhumane conditions, even though amongst them were sick people and children. Some were registered at the UNHCR, and even though the refugees deported did not have legal residencies in Lebanon, they had entered Lebanon legally and regularly. Their fate in Syria remains unknown until this day.
We fear that these recent actions result from the plan announced by the Lebanese government in late 2022, despite the plan being widely condemned by human rights organizations.
Within its periodic publication, ACHR continues to follow up on the documentation of the cases of systematically deported refugees and inform UNHCR’s offices in Lebanon of cases of deported persons. In addition, ACHR highlights the potential dangers for refugees deported to Syria and invites UNHCR to work on their primary role in dealing with forced deportations and addressing everything that could threaten Syrian refugees.
ACHR urges the Lebanese authorities to respect all individuals’ rights, including refugees, in accessing asylum and protection from violence and prosecution, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Law. Furthermore, the Lebanese authorities must comply with the obligations assumed by the state under relevant international laws and agreements. Countries wishing to deport foreigners must verify that they do not face persecution in their home countries and will not be subjected to torture or ill-treatment.
ACHR particularly calls on the United Nations to take immediate action to protect the rights of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and put an end to the mass forced deportations of Syrian refugees by the Lebanese authorities.
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