Caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Dr. Abdullah Bou Habib, on Tuesday welcomed a delegation representing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
In the wake of the meeting, Bou Habib disclosed reaching an agreement between Lebanon and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on handing over data on all the Syrian refugees residing on Lebanese territories.
“This comes after a long process of negotiations that began a year ago during a meeting with the High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, when we reached an initial promise to develop cooperation between the UN and the Lebanese sides. Lebanon considers the handing over of data a sovereign right, similar to that of other countries, to be familiar with the identity of the people on their territories,” Bou Habib said.
“This agreement also serves the interests of both parties, Lebanon and the UN, as well as the interests of donor countries in terms of mitigating the exploitation of donations,” Bou Habib added.
In turn, Lance Bartholomeusz, the General Counsel and Head of the Legal Affairs Service at United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees relayed the UNHCR’s gratitude to the Lebanese people and government for the support they’ve been providing to Syrian refugees.
“I arrived yesterday at the head of a delegation of experts from the Commission’s headquarters, and its regional office for the Middle East and North Africa, with the aim of holding discussions with the Lebanese government over information and data exchange. Based on our long-term relationship of continuous cooperation, we’ve reached an agreement that complies with international data protection standards,” Bartholomeusz said.
“The Lebanese government is committed not to use any data that is shared for purposes that violate the international law; it has reaffirmed its commitment to the principle of non-refoulement and to its obligations under international and domestic laws,” Bartholomeusz added, confirming the UNHCR’s commitment and readiness to continue close cooperation to support Lebanon in moving forward.