Sunnis bear the burden of Syrian refugee crisis: Lebanese minister

Published July 16th, 2015 - 12:35 GMT
Sources close to Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said Lebanon wants to prevent the Sunni population from growing. (AFP/File)
Sources close to Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said Lebanon wants to prevent the Sunni population from growing. (AFP/File)

It is not racist to put a limit on the number of Syrian refugees Lebanon can accept, Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas has reportedly said.

“We do not seek to expand Sunni demographics in Lebanon,” Al-Liwaa cited sources close to Derbas as saying.

The sources said Derbas noted that Lebanon's Sunnis bear the harshest consequences of the Syrian refugee crisis since most of them live in informal camps in Sunni areas.

The crisis needs to be contained using proper measures, Derbas added, insisting that his motives were neither "nationalistic” nor “racist.”

Derbas also criticized Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil for raising the topic of the registration of Syrian refugee children in a letter to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ant?nio Guterres when the government had already made a decision over the matter.

Derbas explained that he and other Sunni representatives had already proposed the suspension of registration in a ministerial committee meeting and that there was a general consensus over the issue.

About 1.2 million Syrians are registered in Lebanon with the UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, but the actual figure is believed to be much higher.

Lebanon shut its borders to new refugees last year, and in January imposed unprecedented entry restrictions for Syrian nationals with the hope of curbing their growing numbers.


Copyright © 2022, The Daily Star. All rights reserved.

You may also like