Lebanon's policies putting Syrian refugees at risk - NGO
A Syrian refugee holds her child as they doze off at a street in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon. (AFP)
Lebanon’s new refugee policies are putting Syrians at risk, stopping them from escaping violence in their country, a refugee organization said Wednesday.
Lebanon has introduced stricter measures for Syrians trying to enter the country after officials said they can no longer handle the massive numbers of refugees needing aid.
The country now charges a $200 year fee to be in the country and there are numbers of reports of refugees being turned away at the border for improper paperwork or damaged documents.
“The ultimate effect of these policies is that fewer Syrians can escape the terrible violence engulfing their country,” Daryl Grisgraber from the independent humanitarian organization Refugees International said after visiting Lebanon.
Those policies are forcing Syrians to come into Lebanon illegally without official aid or stay in their war-torn nation, Grisgraber said in a press release.
The United Nations is helping over 700,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon while the overall number of people who have fled to the country is said to be well over one million.
Lebanon’s infrastructure has been severely taxed by the large number of people in need of aid, and only a portion of the needed international funds have made their way to relief organizations.
“As the Syrian conflict worsens, it is absolutely vital that Syria’s neighbors keep their borders open to refugees and do not pressure them to return,” Grisgraber said.