A tweet by Lebanese MP, Razi El Hage, on X, previously Twitter, has brought attention to the public about a dangerous practice by the UN Refugee Agency.
The tweet read, in Arabic:
“A Housing Attestation given to Syrians in Lebanon by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is being circulated on social networking sites.
The provisions of the memorandum of understanding dated 9/9/2003 regarding dealing with people who apply to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the displaced in Lebanon do not authorize this.
For this reason, I communicated with His Excellency the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities so that this matter remains within the jurisdiction of the administrative authorities that Lebanese law has assigned …
I also contacted the Brigadier General, Elias Al-Bisari, asking both to take the necessary actions and not allow them to use those papers in front of any public or private authority…and the conversation will continue!”
It includes a picture showing that the UNHCR has indeed given a “Housing Attestation” to a Syrian citizen.
Many criticized this move and accused the UNHCR of undermining Lebanese sovereignty.
In recent weeks, there has been a sudden surge in the number of Syrians being arrested and sent back after attempting to enter Lebanon illegally.
With over an equivalent of 2 million Syrians (or 50% of the Lebanese population) at its peak as well as a disproportionately higher birthrate in several Lebanese regions, many are equating this to settler colonization.
Lebanese are wary as they got their freedom from the Syrian occupation just 18 years ago following the Cedar Revolution.