| 28 February 2024, Wednesday |

PM Mikati chairs meeting of committee tasked to discuss Syrian refugees’ situation

Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, on Friday chaired at the Grand Serail a meeting by the Ministerial Committee tasked to discuss the Syrian refugee dossier in Lebanon.

In the wake of the meeting, Minister of Labor, Mustafa Bayram, and Minister of Social Affairs, Hector Hajjar, held a press conference in which they both stressed that the Lebanese state was no longer capable of carrying the burden of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, especially amid the dire economic conditions that the nation currently endures.

“The Lebanese state is no longer capable of playing the role of a ‘policeman’ to keep control of the Syrian refugee dossier for the interest of other countries. Of course, we do not isolate ourselves from such humanitarian issue and human rights, but we rather adhere to them; however, matters have exceeded the Lebanese state’s capacity,” Bayram said.

“We no longer have diesel for boats to monitor the sea, and the United Nations must bear its responsibility in this regard. The UNHCR must bear its responsibility in this context as well. We have rights that we have been forbidden. Today, we witness Lebanese citizens standing in queues in front of banks and ATMs, while others of other nationalities receive direct aid in fresh US dollars, let alone share our water, electricity, and resources while we get nothing,” exclaimed Bayram.

“There are institutions, international organizations, and countries that have been concluding agreements with Lebanese associations and paying them in fresh US dollars without going through the Lebanese state, and frankly, this loose situation is no longer acceptable,” the Labor Minister added.

Bayram finally announced that the decisions of this meeting would be submitted to the Supreme Defense Council for appropriate measures.

“The Minister of Social Affairs will communicate with the UNHCR and inform it of the Lebanese position in this regard,” he added.

Minister Hajjar, who reiterated Bayram’s stances vis-a-vis the Syrian refugee situation in Lebanon, regretted that the Lebanese were deprived of international support amid the country’s trying times while Syrian refugees in Lebanon received plenty of aid for education, rent, heating and hospitalization, and the Lebanese got nothing.

Both men also sounded the alarm on the increasing crime rate in Lebanon due to the ill-fated and rampant crises nationwide.

  • NNA