Since 2013, there has been a rapid increase in the arbitrary and systematic detention of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Today, there are over 4,000 detained refugees. Many Syrian refugees are subject to continued discrimination and violence from the security forces. Detentions have been aimed at men between the ages of 20 to 50 years old, many of whom are soldiers that defected from the Syrian Army and therefore do not have valid civilian identity papers. When these refugees are caught without the possession of identity papers, they are arrested and sent to the Ministry of Defense. They are then sent to the Military Court, under the pretext of belonging to “terrorist” groups, even when there is no evidence. Other times, there are Syrians who send in money to Syria for reasons pertaining to humanitarian aid and are detained for 3-5 years because they are assumed to be funding terrorist groups.
Further, some refugees are usually detained without any official investigation into their cases, and without easy access to lawyers. Even upon completion of their sentence, they are rarely released and, instead, placed in administrative detention by the General Security. There are also cases whereby Syrian laborers are detained because the people under whom they work make invalid accusations against them. This is done in order to avoid paying the Syrian workers. Additionally, the systematic and unjustified raids by the Lebanese Armed Forces in the refugee camps not only yield to unsubstantiated arrests, but also create an atmosphere of increased fear amongst those living in the camps.
The continuous and increasing detention of Syrian refugees is coupled with discriminatory rules and regulations such as the complex border entry regulations, the costly residency renewals, the sponsorship system, and municipality-imposed curfews.
In light of the aforementioned, the Syria Solidarity Campaign demands the following:
- Ending the arbitrary detainments towards Syrian refugees and releasing all unfairly incarcerated prisoners
- Urging the Lebanese Authorities to comply with Article 47 of the Lebanese Penal Code that stipulates the right of detainees to have a lawyer and ensuring trial processes proceed without unnecessary and prolonged delays
- Stopping raids in refugee camps under the unsupported pretexts of security against terrorists
- Ensuring the unfair treatment, laws and processes imposed on Syrian refugees are condemned and more sustainable and fair policies are proposed and enacted
- Calling upon the Lebanese Authorities and international organisations to be more assertive in improving the catastrophic situations in refugee camps.
- Withdrawal of military intervention of Lebanese militias in Syria
As such, the Syria Solidarity Campaign, urges people living in London to join us in a demonstration in front of the Lebanese Embassy in 15 Palace Gardens Mew on Saturday the 26th of November, between 3 – 4 p.m.