Published: 2018-04-20 14:05
Last Updated: 2018-04-20 15:33
Human Rights Watch (HRW) asserted that the forceful eviction of Syrian refugees carried out by a number of municipalities in Lebanon in the period Jan 2016-March 2018 appeared discriminatory and lacked due process in a report released on Friday.
The report is titled “Our Homes Are Not for Strangers” and in it, the monitor used UN statistics identifying that the 3,664 evictions during the said period had been exclusively directed at Syrian nationals despite there being similar violations made by Lebanese nationals, such as housing regulation infractions.
The HRW indicated that anti-refugee rhetoric has been increasing in the country ahead of the parliamentary elections in May. Despite some of the problems predating the refugee influx, as the humanitarian assistance for refugees in Syria only covered 54 percent of their needs in 2017, at least 13 municipalities have forcefully evicted Syrian refugees.
The 57 refugees who talked to HRW described a process that had no consistency in the reasons given for evictions, in the documents municipal police demanded to see, or in the amount of time they were given to leave.
HRW also made a list of recommendations to the Lebanese institutions such as the ministries of interior, defense, social affairs, and education, asking them to cease refugee evictions based on nationality, religion or labour regulations; give reasonable notice, legal consultation and remedies, and provide alternative housing and compensation for losses.
Among the recommendations to national and international NGOs, HTW sought to counter the rhetoric that Syrians were a burden but stress that they contribute to the economy by performing jobs Lebanese citizens refuse to take.
They also addressed donor and resettlement countries with the appeal to help meet the needs of all Syrian refugees and relieve the pressure from municipalities.