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Finance and Budget Committee advances legal framework for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

NNA - The Finance and Budget Committee, under the chairmanship of MP Ibrahim Kanaan, on Monday convened to review two legislative proposals aimed at regulating the legal status of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The session included the proposed law for organizing temporary residency and deportation processes for Syrian refugees. The meeting was attended by Caretaker Ministers Issam Charafeddine of Displaced Persons and Hector Hajjar of Social Affairs, alongside several MPs and senior officials.

Post-session, Kanaan announced, "We approved the proposal setting a three to nine-month period to regularize the status of those who entered Lebanon illegally. All interactions between General Security and the UNHCR will be regulated under this law within specified deadlines. General Security will have the authority to accept or reject applications. The maximum period for regularization will involve seeking asylum in a third country, with the UNHCR coordinating with the government and General Security in accordance with international agreements."

Kanaan also noted that the committee had adopted amendments from the Administration and Justice Committee, with a minor adjustment to Article 6, changing "General Security Directorate may issue necessary instructions to the UNHCR" to "General Security Directorate shall issue," making compliance mandatory.

Article 7 prohibits individuals who entered illegally from applying for asylum with the UNHCR after two months.

Article 8 requires the UNHCR to weekly submit asylum applications with original documents to General Security’s special categories division.

Article 10 allows General Security to issue a three-month temporary movement permit to asylum seekers pending UNHCR’s decision.

Violators of the permit conditions face imprisonment of one week to three months and fines ranging from three to ten times the official minimum wage.

Addressing the rationale behind these measures, Kanaan stated, "Without stringent penalties, specific timeframes, and cooperation between the government and UNHCR, these regulations would be ineffective. Both the Finance and Budget and the Administration and Justice Committees are aligned, and the proposal will proceed to the General Assembly as there are no discrepancies between the committees."

He emphasized the importance of a legislative session to finalize these laws, which are crucial for addressing the financial, economic, demographic, and security impacts of the unregulated presence of refugees.

Moreover, Kanaan confirmed that non-compliant refugees would be deported after the stipulated grace period for legal status regularization. "Lebanon is not a free-for-all land. The government’s responsibility is to enforce laws related to refugees strictly. The number of refugees now exceeds half the Lebanese population, and it’s imperative to apply these laws. Failing to do so is a greater crime against Lebanon."

Kanaan finally concluded by urging the UNHCR to adhere to international agreements and Lebanese laws. "Waiting for the international community to resolve our issues is futile. The more we ease their burden, the more they will prefer to keep the refugees in Lebanon. It is our priority to address this situation independently."

 

 

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تابعوا أخبار الوكالة الوطنية للاعلام عبر أثير إذاعة لبنان على الموجات 98.5 و98.1 و96.2 FM

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