Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati called on the international community to cooperate with Lebanon to return the displaced Syrians to their country. Otherwise, Lebanon will have a situation that is not desirable for Western countries, which is to work to get the Syrians out of Lebanon by legal means, through the firm application of Lebanese laws.
President Mikati was speaking during his patronage today at the Grand Serail, the launch of the “Lebanon Crisis Response Plan for 2022-2023” at the invitation of the Ministry of Social Affairs.
In her speech, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon, Najat Rushdi, said, “With the continuing impact of the Syrian crisis and the current economic crisis in Lebanon, which has pushed all the population to the brink, joint efforts by all partners to support refugees and the host community through the Lebanon Plan remain urgently needed. to respond to the crisis. Nine out of ten Syrians in Lebanon live in poverty, while poverty levels have also risen dramatically among the Lebanese, immigrant and Palestinian population. These conditions lead to negative coping mechanisms as families are forced to send their children to work instead of school, reduce the number of meals or borrow. Municipalities must be supported to maintain basic services amid massive capacity gaps.”
Canada’s Ambassador to Lebanon, Chantal Chasnay, delivered a speech on behalf of the donor countries, in which she referred to the Brussels Conference, in which 4.1 billion dollars were pledged to the displaced Syrians and the host communities, while emphasizing commitment to a political solution to the crisis in Syria, focusing on the recovery process inside Syria, and pledging to support the host countries. In addition to Lebanon’s support to address the long-term displacement through development and financing. She added: “Governments have indicated the extraordinary pressure that refugee pressure poses to Lebanon, and that the vulnerable population supported by the plan has been affected by the increase in prices and suffers from difficulty in obtaining food, health care and basic services.” .
She declared, “Lebanon is suffering from the worst crises since 1850, according to the World Bank,” noting that “food insecurity has increased dramatically for half of the Syrian refugees and half of the Lebanese people, and for girls and women affected by this unprecedented crisis and their inability to access health care and basic services.” . ”
And she considered, “The response to the Syrian crisis in Lebanon has evolved over the years through a set of interventions by donor countries and through the provision of services by the relevant public institutions,” pointing out “the need to maintain support for refugees and concerned communities, and to work together to ensure an effective, accountable and coordinated response in Lebanon.” These are difficult conditions.
In his speech, Minister of Social Affairs Hector Hajjar said, “Despite the passage of eleven years, I regret that we are still meeting to discuss the political, humanitarian and logistical challenges that our country, Lebanon, faces as a result of the largest displacement crisis in contemporary history, namely: the Syrian displacement crisis. On the political side of this file, we conveyed – during our participation in the Sixth Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region in Brussels in May 2022 – the position of the Lebanese state clearly and realistically, and we stressed that Lebanon is committed to the principle of non-refoulement of the displaced. But the situation is no longer bearable, and the Lebanese state is no longer able to bear the burdens of this file. For many years, the Lebanese state has incurred multi-dimensional losses, not to mention the security chaos and the responsibility for controlling the borders to combat illegal immigration. I will not go into detail, because we are about to launch an initiative in this regard. We have consulted with the delegations that visited us during the past weeks, its main titles, and we will announce its details in the coming days.
He added: As for the humanitarian aspect, Lebanon did not stand idly by in front of this crisis. He received the displaced from the first day, without restrictions, and they are present in most of the Lebanese cities and villages, including in camps, and the largest number of them are scattered in neighborhoods and residential buildings. The population density reached 650 people per square kilometer, which is one of the highest rates in the world. Recently, the economic situation in our country has deteriorated significantly, due to various reasons that have become known to everyone, and the Syrian displacement file bears part of this deterioration.
He said, “Over the past years, international donors, United Nations agencies, local and international NGOs have thankfully accompanied us, through the crisis response plan, and the humanitarian development needs of the displaced. With the exacerbation of the economic crisis and the deterioration of the value of the Lebanese pound, we have repeatedly called for the implementation of justice in the distribution of support without any discrimination, and the expansion of the development framework to include a larger number of Lebanese villages and towns hosting the displaced Syrians to alleviate the burdens placed on them. This reality has exacerbated the tension between people on the ground, and there are repeated appeals from local authorities to raise the value of contributions to cover the costs of solid waste removal, maintenance of equipment, operating sorting plants, securing fuel to pump drinking water, maintaining infrastructure, and other exorbitant costs. Therefore, today we are in urgent need of greater support, more than ever, to maintain a minimum level of stability and social support for the most needy, the displaced Syrians and the Lebanese host communities. their urgent needs, and we invite you to work together to overcome obstacles to their safe and speedy return to their homeland.”
In his speech, President Mikati said: Our meeting takes place in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that Lebanon is suffering from, which requires shedding light on what Lebanon needs, which hosts a large proportion of Syrian refugees in proportion to the population, in terms of financial and economic factors for the revival of all its sectors. And, more than ever, prioritizing departmental support.