4 July 2014

Many Palestinian refugees from Syria are being denied the possibility to seek safety in Lebanon due to new requirements for Palestinian refugees introduced last May by the Lebanese authorities, according to a new briefing by Amnesty International. Palestinians fleeing Syria who want to enter Lebanon need to possess one of three Lebanese documents: an entry visa approved by Lebanese authorities; a Lebanese residency visa of one to three years; or an exit and return visa. Amnesty stresses that all these documents are extremely difficult to obtain before leaving Syria.

“Unfortunately the new restrictions in Lebanon are only the most recent example of policies that discriminate against Palestinian refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria”, said Sherif Elsayed–Ali, Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights at Amnesty International.

Amnesty International refers to the case of Suleiman, aged 12, who lives in Lebanon and is separated from his parents and brother who had returned to Syria to get new identity documents and have been denied entry back in Lebanon.

The report stresses that as of June 2014 the Lebanese authorities have also changed the entry requirements for Syrians. Entry of displaced Syrians is now restricted to those coming from areas where there is fighting near the Lebanese border and anyone who goes back to Syria from Lebanon risks losing their refugee status.

Amnesty international calls on the Lebanese authorities to stop preventing people escaping the conflict from accessing the territory of Lebanon which is a clear breach of the country’s obligations under the principle of non-refoulement.

Amnesty also urges the international community to substantially increase financial contributions towards the humanitarian efforts in the region, and to support the government of Lebanon to increasing the capacity of national services, to accommodate the needs of refugees from Syria. Furthermore, Amnesty International calls on the international community to expand the number of resettlement and humanitarian admission places for refugees from Syria.  

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 4 July 2014.
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