LEBANON (OBSERVATORY) – At least 13 municipalities in Lebanon forcibly deported 3,364 Syrian refugees from their homes and expelled them from the municipalities, apparently because of their nationality or religion, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Friday.
About 42,000 more refugees face the risk of being evacuated, the agency said.
Human Rights Watch reported that the measures taken by the municipalities targeted Syrian citizens directly and exclusively, without Lebanese citizens or persons of other nationalities.
The report, “our Houses Are Not For Foreigners: The Lebanese Municipalities Passive Thousands of Syrian Refugees,” published in 57 pages, lacks the consistency of the reasons given by the municipalities to expel the Syrians and the non-protection of refugee rights by the Lebanese government.
According to UN officials, 3,664 evacuations were carried out between 2016 and the first quarter of 2018, while Lebanese municipal officials offer vague excuses that the evictions took place because of the violation of housing laws.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also published figures on 13 April estimated that about 13,700 Syrians were deported in 2017. These figures include not only the 3664 municipal evictions, but also the evictions caused by the inability to pay the rent, disputes with the landlord or options Owner, in addition to evictions due to “security and security”.
The Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs told Human Rights Watch that 7524 Syrians had been evacuated from the vicinity of Riaq military airport in 2017, and 15,126 were awaiting evacuation orders.
The human rights organization called on the relevant Lebanese government authorities to intervene to prevent the mistreatment of Syrian refugees by the municipalities and to ensure shelter for them.
The evacuation of the municipality resulted in the loss of income and property of the refugees. It also hindered the education of refugee children and in some cases led to the absence of children for months or even leaving them altogether.
In some cases, the Syrians said the authorities used violence to evict them, noting that the municipal authorities did not provide any opportunity for refugees to object to their decision to evict them or even other legal protections according to international standards.
After seven years of crisis in Syria, Lebanon receives one million registered Syrian refugees, the highest in the world for the population.