Increasing racist behavior in Lebanon towards Syrians

Racist and anti-Syrian behavior against Syrian refugees in Lebanon is increasing dramatically, which is very worrying, especially with the security chaos in Lebanon and the failure of the authorities to carry out their duties.

Increasing racist behavior in Lebanon towards Syrians
21 April 2024   09:14

A new chapter of racism towards Syrians in Lebanon was opened by the killing of Lebanese Forces Party coordinator Pascal Suleiman, at the hands of a Syrian gang, a number of whose members were arrested by the security forces, with investigations to be completed later and the circumstances of the crime revealed.

This incident brought the scene of racism and hate speech back to the forefront, in addition to raising the urgent and necessary issue of the return of Syrian refugees to their country.

Over the past few days, Lebanese regions have witnessed several attacks against Syrians, including acts of expulsion from homes and shops, campaigns of harassment and threats against them, in addition to harsh measures taken by municipalities, from curfews to restricting their ability to rent homes, and forcing them to provide municipalities with their  personal data, and the threat of deportation.

Media campaigns, from the media, and the speeches and statements of some Lebanese politicians also contribute to incitement and hate speech.

Moreover, the Lebanese Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Bassam Mawlawi, said in his last statements: “We will not allow security tensions due to Syrian asylum, and we in Lebanon are not racist. Rather, applicable laws must be applied and security and the country preserved. Circulars related to housing, work, transactions, and contracts must be applied to protect the Syrian citizen, and this can be done.” It was translated through what the Lebanese General Security is doing, in terms of studying the situation of every Syrian present in Lebanon, whether he is legal or not, and whether for security reasons or not, because Lebanon cannot tolerate economic asylum, rejecting any project that aims to sedition and calling for adherence to the law and the state and not to racist reactions.”

Racism towards Syrians in Lebanon undermines the United Nations Convention against Torture

It is important to remember that Syrian refugees fled conflict and violence in their country of origin to Lebanon, as an area of security and stability, but today they face the risk of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the Lebanese authorities, non-state actors and citizens, which undermines human rights agreements, in particular The United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT), which Lebanon ratified in 2000.

In this context, journalist and human rights activist Nahla Salama spoke to ANHA's agency about the racism to which Syrian refugees have been exposed recently, especially after the killing of Lebanese Forces Party coordinator Pascal Suleiman. She said: “There is no doubt that the murder of Pascal Suleiman had a negative impact on Syrian refugees.” In Lebanon, the acts of violence and racism we witnessed against them are contrary to the international laws and conventions that Lebanon has signed, which enshrine respect for human rights.”

Nahla Salama asked several questions: “Why should a Syrian refugee fleeing war, persecution, and murder meet a worse fate in Lebanon? Why are all crimes linked to Syrian refugees? And why are all the political and economic crises that are happening in Lebanon caused by the Syrian refugee?”

Nahla Salama stressed the need for Lebanon to adhere to all treaties that respect human rights and call on the state to settle the situation of Syrians and deal with them seriously, and not to allow incitement by politicians, parties and citizens. She added: “It is important to control the issue of incitement, especially on social media platforms, and limit the publication of hatred speeches.”

The issue of Syrian refugees is in danger today if it is not dealt with in a humane and serious manner, and the Lebanese state must carry out its duties to settle their situation, facilitate their papers, and study their files.

Nahla Salama stresses that the state must communicate with the Syrian authorities for the voluntary return of refugees for those who are able. She said: “Syrian refugees cannot be left to an unknown fate under acts of violence, racism, and incitement that violate human rights.”

Nahla Salama also stressed that the international community must shoulder its responsibilities towards Lebanon, in terms of supporting it with regard to Syrian asylum, to ensure respect for Syrians and human dignity as a whole.

T/ Satt.