Lebanon violates international law for deportation of Syrian refugees to their own country

Gulf European Centre for Human Rights

 

Lebanon violates international law for deportation of Syrian refugees to their own country

 

20th July 2019   

 

Lebanese lawyer Tariq Shandab filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor's Office against the Lebanese judicial authority over deporting a number of Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon to their own country last week.

Shandab considered the extradition of refugees a legal offense punishable by Lebanese law and in violation of international law and the four Geneva Conventions relating to refugees. In his complaint, the Lebanese lawyer demanded that the persons who handed over the Syrian refugees be investigated and called on the judicial authorities to do their duty and punish the violators.

It is worth mentioning that the Lebanese authorities have consistently deported wanted persons to the Syrian authorities in secret or public ways, because of the connection between some Lebanese parties such as Hezbollah with the Syrian government.

The Gulf European Centre for Human Rights follows up the file of Syrian refugees with concern and supports the complaint of the Lebanese lawyer Tariq Shandab to hold those who violated Lebanese law and international law by deporting Syrian refugees to Syria. Therefore, GECHR calls on the international bodies and the Human Rights Council to pressure the Lebanese authorities to stop any kind of forcible return against the Syrian refugee who live in Lebanon because of the war and their political and human rights activities in Syria.

The war in Syria caused the displacement of more than 8 million Syrians to the countries of the world, including about one million to Lebanon. Therefore, this migration is a non-voluntary migration (forced migration), hence, international law and the Geneva Convention provide all rights to refugees and the Lebanese authorities must respect international law and stop any kind of violation against Syrian refugees.

 

International Law

The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are international treaties that contain the most important rules limiting the barbarity of war. They protect people who do not take part in the fighting (civilians, medics, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, sick and shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war).

 

The 1949 Geneva Conventions:

  • The first Geneva Convention protects wounded and sick soldiers on land during war.
  • The second Geneva Convention protects wounded, sick and shipwrecked military personnel at sea during war.
  • The third Geneva Convention applies to prisoners of war.
  • The fourth Geneva Convention affords protection to civilians, including in occupied territory.

 

Providing protection to people fleeing in search of refuge is one of humanity’s most longstanding traditions – a shared value embedded in many religious and cultural traditions, and now part of international law. It is a value that has stood the test of time and was most recently articulated by all 193 United Nations member states in the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants, adopted in September 2016.

The Declaration was a resounding reaffirmation of the fundamental principle of refugee protection, at a moment when the number of people fleeing their homes has reached levels not seen in decades. There are now almost 66 million people displaced from their homes by conflict, violence and persecution, of whom around one third have fled across borders as refugees – a similar level to the mid-1990s, when the aftermath of the Cold War triggered similar upheaval. The magnitude and complexity of forced displacement today is directly linked to the prevalence, scale and longevity of today’s conflicts, and the inability of the international community to find the unity of purpose necessary to resolve them. More than 80% of those fleeing their countries as refugees find protection in neighbouring ones.

The issue of asylum and forced displacement is one of the most pressing issues confronting the international community, as this group of people is more in touch with suffering, whether as a result of conflict, persecution or other types of human rights violations. But the challenges facing this issue today need to re-evaluate the forms of international engagement with them (International Red Cross).

Since many people had to leave their homes and seek safety elsewhere to escape persecution, armed conflict and political violence, the international community began to deal with these issues. The 1951 International Convention and the 1967 Protocol abolished geographical restrictions to make the Convention more coherent and comprehensive, where are focusing on the humanitarian aspect of the refugee problem.

The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child is the treaty that sets standards for children and, although not a refugee treaty, refugee children are covered by its provisions, that is, all persons under the age of 18 without discrimination. The Convention on the Rights of the Child has gained special importance for refugee children because it was ratified by most countries in the world. 

 

Recommendations

  1. International monitoring of the situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon
  2. International pressure on the Lebanese authorities to prevent the forcible return of Syrian refugees to their home country
  3. Punishing those who deported some Syrian refugees to Syria
  4. Punishing those who violated the rights of Syrian refugees in Lebanon
  5. Provide international services such as housing, health, finance support and education for Syrian refugees in Lebanon under UN supervision
  6. Provide a third country for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

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