Geagea threatens to close UNHCR offices in Lebanon

The head of the Lebanese Forces Party, Samir Geagea, threatened to resort to the judiciary to close the offices of the UNHCR in the country if it does not cooperate with the authorities regarding Syrian refugees.

Geagea threatens to close UNHCR offices in Lebanon
14 June 2024   14:33
NEWS DESK

The head of the Lebanese Forces Party, Samir Geagea, said today that he handed the United Nations Special Coordinator in Lebanon, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, a memorandum to the Secretary-General of the international organization, Antonio Guterres, informing him of the possibility of resorting to the judiciary to close the offices of the High Commissioner for Refugees in the country, if they do not cooperate with the authorities concerning Syrian refugees.

This comes amid pressure and attacks on Syrian refugees in Lebanon, especially after the killing of Lebanese Forces Party official Pascal Suleiman.

Geagea said, “Lebanon is suffering from major crises and problems, most notably the random and chaotic presence of illegal Syrians, who constitute approximately 45 percent of the total population in the country."

He explained that what exacerbates the crisis is the way the Commission’s regional office deals with this file, including what he described as working to integrate Syrians into Lebanese society instead of serious work to resettle them in a third country, or return them to Syria, and the Commission’s refusal to give complete information to those registered.

Geagea also accused the UNHCR of violating Lebanese sovereignty, and exceeding its authority by giving the Syrians a refugee card.

The memorandum demanded the authorities to hand over all information and data related to illegal Syrians in a regular manner, and implement the content of the memorandum of understanding signed in 2003.

On May 14, the Lebanese authorities resumed conducting "voluntary return" flights for Syrian refugees from Lebanese territory to their villages in Syria, including 300 refugees, they headed to the Damascus countryside and Homs.

During the past year, the Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria received more than 50 refugee from Lebanon.

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ANHA