Amnesty International worried about Lebanon returning Syrians.. Nasrallah: The sea is ahead of you

A new batch of Syrian refugees in Lebanon preparing to return through the Jdeidet Yabous crossing - September 4, 2018 (SANA)

A new batch of Syrian refugees in Lebanon preparing to return through the Jdeidet Yabous crossing - September 4, 2018 (SANA)

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Amnesty International expressed concern about Lebanon’s decision to resume the “voluntary return” of Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon to Syria, in light of the difficult conditions the refugees live under and face upon their return.

The organization condemned, through posts on the platform “X” on May 13, the series of measures that Lebanon is implementing to pressure refugees into returning to their country, whether through restrictions on their residence, work, and mobility, or even through the campaign of political and media incitement they face.

Amnesty International stated that such measures raise concerns about the Syrian refugees’ ability to “consent freely” to their return to Syria, which is suffering from many complex and compounded crises due to the war.

The organization reiterated its assertion that Syria is still not a safe country for the return of refugees, and that the detained refugees in Syria were subjected to “torture and ill-treatment, including beating, sexual violence, or arbitrary detention, and enforced disappearance.”

It also reminded Lebanon of the need to respect its international obligations, human rights statutes, and to stop the mass return of Syrian refugees.

International law prohibits constructive forced repatriation, which occurs when states use indirect means to force individuals to return to a place where they are likely to face a real risk of serious human rights violations—a fact documented by individuals who have returned to Syria themselves, or through their relatives, as well as what has been reported by both local and international human rights and humanitarian organizations.

In response to the organization’s statements, the Foreign Relations Department of the Lebanese Forces Party issued a statement regarding the return of Syrian refugees in Lebanon to Syria, accusing Amnesty of misleading and falsifying facts and events to keep Syrians in Lebanon despite the Lebanese consensus on the necessity of their return, or deportation to other countries, and the consensus on the danger their presence poses to Lebanon’s existence, identity, and supreme national interest, according to the party’s statement.

On his part, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah Lebanese militia Hassan Nasrallah, called for opening the sea to Europe in front of Syrian refugees to solve the “crisis of displaced people in Lebanon” according to the party’s vision.

He emphasized that by threatening Europeans with allowing Syrian refugees to reach them by sea, Lebanon thereby pressures Western countries, especially those opposing the return of Syrians to Syria, to act to find a solution acceptable to Lebanon, as well as to coordinate effectively with the Syrian government and administration.

He seized the opportunity again to call on the United States and European countries to lift the sanctions imposed on the Syrian government, urging everyone to coordinate with the regime to resolve this crisis.

This coincides with the resumption of the return of Syrian refugees from Lebanon to Syria, with the General Directorate of Public Security in Lebanon organizing two trips today, Tuesday, May 14, which included returning 300 displaced people to Qalamoun in the countryside of Damascus, and to Homs.

The Lebanese Minister of the Displaced, Issam Sharafeddine, also proposed on April 27 to open the maritime ports wide and prepare boats that carry Syrian refugees to Europe.

He considered that sea journeys are based on an international and ethical document, and that Europeans should bear the consequences of refuge and responsibility for contributing to the reconstruction of Syria, according to his statement.

 

 

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