Lebanon: Immediately halt the deportation of detained Syrian men and ensure their protection

The Lebanese authorities must immediately release the six Syrian men recently arrested outside the Syrian embassy in Beirut and desist from deporting them, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said today.

 هذا البيان متوفر باللغة العربية أيضاً

Lebanon must fully comply with its obligations under the non-refoulement principle, a peremptory norm of international law prohibiting the removal — in any manner whatsoever — of anyone who would be at real risk of irreparable harm upon being removed.

In the last week of August 2021, the Lebanese army arrested six Syrian men outside the Syrian Embassy in Beirut — allegedly for their “illegal entry” into the country — after they had gone there to collect their passports. A few days after their arrest, they were handed over to the General Security Office. On 5 September, the Office contacted the lawyers representing the six men and informed them that their clients had 24 hours to either secure a visa to a third country and leave Lebanon or be deported to Syria.

“The deportation process and the detention of individuals without judicial review or due process guarantees  violates Lebanon’s obligations under international law, including the non-refoulement principle” said Said Benarbia, the ICJ’s MENA Programme Director.

“Lebanon must immediately end such practices and curb the General Security’s arbitrary powers that curtail the rights of people entitled to international protection.”

Five of the six Syrian men arrested are from Syria’s province of Deraa, where clashes between opposition forces and the Syrian government and its allied forces took place recently. In Syria, government forces continue to be responsible of serious crimes under international law, including unlawful killings, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention and torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

Human rights organizations have documented dozens of cases of gross human rights violations against refugees returning to Syria, including children. The Syrian authorities accuse many returnees of treason or terrorism for the sole reason that they have fled the country and sought refuge abroad; returnees coming from areas formerly under the opposition’s control have been specifically targeted.

In light of the above, the ICJ reiterates its call on the Lebanese authorities to establish a moratorium on all removals to Syria.

In its November 2020 report, Unrecognized and Unprotected: The Treatment of Refugees and Migrants in Lebanon, the ICJ called on the Lebanese authorities to ensure that people entitled to international protection, chiefly Syrian refugees, should not penalized for their “illegal” entry and stay.

“It is time for the Lebanese authorities to establish a legal framework that complies with international law and standards and provides protection to hundreds of thousands of people entitled to international protection in Lebanon,” Benarbia added.


Said Benarbia, Director, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, t: +41-22-979-3817; e: said.benarbia(a)icj.org

Asser Khattab, Research and Communications’ Officer, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, e: asser.khattab(a)icj.org

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