Lebanon To Pursue Legal Rights to Return Syrian Refugees: Aoun
Lebanon will pursue its legal rights to return Syrian refugees to their homeland, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Monday. “We developed a legal study about the stipulations of local, regional, and international laws with regard to dealing with the displaced; we will file complaints in international forums to obtain our rights, especially since Syria is willing to take back refugees and does not oppose this matter,” said Aoun in a statement released by the presidency. Aoun also expressed concern about comments made at the fifth Brussels Conference on Syria that encourage the integration of Syrian refugees into their host countries, saying that this approach did not take into consideration Lebanon’s deteriorating living conditions and the increasing crime rate. The repercussions of hosting huge numbers of Syrian refugees were too much for Lebanon to bear, he said. Issam Charafeddine, Lebanon’s caretaker minister of the displaced, launched a plan last month to return 15,000 Syrian refugees monthly to their home country, but the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees disagreed with some of its terms and has withdrawn from the tripartite Lebanese-Syrian-UN committee proposed by Lebanon. An estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees are living in Lebanon, which, on a per capita basis, hosts more refugees than any other country in the world.