Poverty, lack of hygiene and overcrowding are only some of the issues faced by refugees in Lebanon, reports a delegation of MEPs who urge EU leaders to step up resettlement efforts.  Seven members of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE), headed by Claude Moraes, visited Beirut last week to observe the conditions on the ground for the 1,5 million Syrian refugees and for the 300,000 to 400,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

Public services like education and primary health care are under extreme pressure. With 70 percent of Syrian refugees now living below the national poverty line of $4 a day according to UNHCR, extreme poverty is another difficulty faced by refugees in Lebanon.

Claude Moraes stated that the situation cannot be solved by humanitarian aid alone and that Member States need to urgently uphold their humanitarian responsibilities and need to ensure a better, more even distribution of refugees among the EU countries. According to the statement, the LIBE Committee will take on the task to ensure a better functioning resettlement system.

“Beyond immediate survival, resettlement to a third country is one solution, and it is ongoing”, stressed UNHCR representative in Lebanon Mireille Girard. “Resettlement is a safety net for the most vulnerable, including those who have survived torture or trauma, female heads of households or people with a serious illness that cannot be treated locally. UNHCR is asking the international community to multiply the number of opportunities for refugees outside the region, including through scholarships, work permits, family reunification and other temporary humanitarian admission schemes.”

For further information:

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 30 September 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.