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Beirut governor takes administrative measures targeting Syrian refugees

1 min

Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud on Wednesday ordered a series of measures targeting Syrian refugees living in the Lebanese capital, ordering them, notably, to register their residency papers at the Beirut municipality building within 15 days.

Marwan Abboud © LNI

Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud on Wednesday ordered a series of measures targeting Syrian refugees living in the Lebanese capital, ordering them, notably, to register their residency papers at the Beirut municipality building within 15 days.

Municipalities across Lebanon have been issuing strict measures regarding Syrian refugees amid widespread public anger towards them and as almost all politicians call for their return.

These measures came as anti-Syrian sentiment has been growing in Beirut, after a series of incidents after which the authorities were quick to blame refugees for the growing insecurity.

In October 2023, caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi claimed that 30 percent of crimes were committed by Syrian nationals. This figure was disputed by a number of organizations, including Human Rights Watch, which took the view that, given the number of unpunished crimes, these statistics should be treated with caution. 

In a statement, the municipality of Beirut following orders from Abboud said that house owners should not make any new rent contract deal with any Syrian refugee before informing the Beirut municipality and governate. 

In the statement, Aboud also asked house owners not to over-populate the place when renting it. Syrian refugees who drive cars or motorcycles also have to submit legal papers regarding their vehicles. 

The decision also prohibited any Syrian refugee from freelancing in any job without a license from the municipality. Those who employ Syrian refugees also have to submit to the municipality a list of their Syrian employees "especially delivery workers" and their papers and give them an identification card that they work for their business.

Beirut's change MP Wadah Sadek praised the decisions and considered them "a good move in the right path to organize and manage the migration of Syrians in the capital after the chaos that exhausted Beirut." "What is important also is how it's implemented which is what we should be following closely with those responsible especially the Interior Ministry and the Internal Security Forces who are directly responsible for implementing the decision of the governor and punishing those who violate it," he added.

Lebanon hosts more than an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees who fled since 2011, according to Human Rights Watch making it the country with the highest population of refugees per capita in the world amid an unprecedented economic crisis facing the country. 90 percent of Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in extreme poverty.

Humanitarian organizations have objected to the return of the refugees citing security concerns that some have been detained or even tortured by the Syrian regime following their return

© OLJ

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