Beirut, 28th of April 2023
Today, Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR) stated that the Lebanese army did an intensive crackdown, violating international human rights law and Lebanon’s commitment to international agreements, including Article 3 of the Convention against Torture.
From the beginning of April 2023 until the morning of the 28th of April, ACHR documented around 542 cases of arbitrary arrests as part of at least 13 security crackdowns targeting refugees’ residential areas, camps, or houses, in different areas, including the districts of Keserwan, Akkar, Zahle, Baalbek, Chouf. In addition, around 200 refugees, including women and children, were deported through border crossings. Among the deported cases, ACHR also documented the deportation of at least two entire families in Rachmaya in the Chouf district.
According to the information we received, at least ten people were arrested at the security checkpoints of the Lebanese army in Jounieh and moved to Sarba military barrack. After arrests, victims were transferred to centers belonging to the Ministry of Defense, either the army or army intelligence centers, one of which is the Sarba military barrack.
Most refugees who were deported from Lebanon do not have legal residency papers. However, ACHR recorded, during the military crackdown in Jounieh, cases of people who were deported despite them having expired legal residency permits. ACHR confirms that two of the deported people were later arrested by the 4th division of the Syrian regime, one of them was moved to the Palestine branch for defecting from the Syrian army, while the other was forcibly disappeared, with no information about his whereabouts.
ACHR strongly condemns the continuation of the Lebanese army’s security operations and considers raids, arrests, and deportation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon to violate international conventions and local laws, foremost of which is the Lebanese constitution. Furthermore, ACHR sees that these ongoing operations constitute a flagrant violation of people’s fundamental human rights in search of protection and safety in Lebanon.
ACHR calls on the Lebanese government to implement the decision of the State Shura Council that revokes the decision of the Directorate of General Security and organizes the entry and exit of Syrians to and from Lebanon. We also call for overruling the decision of the Higher Defense Council issued in April 2019.
ACHR calls on the UNHCR to seriously assume its responsibilities and provide protection for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, work to stop arbitrary arrests and forced deportations, and guarantee refugees’ rights to access protection and humanitarian assistance.