Lebanon: call for more solidarity to deal with an ‘unsustainable’ refugee crisis

“The refugee crisis is becoming unsustainable for Lebanon. Greater solidarity is needed,” PACE said today. It added that the international community should step up “as a matter of urgency, its contribution to support and assist the refugees presently in Lebanon”. States should, on the one hand, increase their financial support for the humanitarian response on the spot and, on the other hand, increase resettlement possibilities for those refugees who so wished.

In adopting a resolution on the situation in Lebanon, based on the report by Tobias Zech (Germany, EPP/CD), the parliamentarians said that over the last five years the situation of refugees has worsened and today Lebanon hosts an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees. “This number adds to the many refugees were already there making Lebanon the country with the highest number of refugees per capita in the world”.

The adopted text also underlines the fact that, although surrounded by conflicts, “the oldest democracy in the Middle East” is a good example of peaceful co-existence and “should be supported in continuing to do so”.

The Assembly welcomed the formation of a national unity government on 18 December 2016, headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The Assembly sees this development, together with the election of President Aoun, as a vital step for the stability of Lebanon.

"However, it does not guarantee that the country’s other problems will be solved”, the Assembly said. The parliamentarians wish to see further political reconciliation, especially in line with the upcoming general elections scheduled to take place before 22 June 2017.

The Assembly said it would like to see the PACE “develop relations with the Lebanese Parliament, first by inviting Lebanese parliamentarians to follow its the work and then by “encouraging the Lebanese Parliament to consider applying for Partnership for Democracy status with the Assembly”.