REFUGEE MOVE­MENT

Executive Magazine - - Economics & Policy -

left the coun­try by pay­ing traf­fick­ers to smug­gle them into Turkey or Europe. “We get in­for­ma­tion from dif­fer­ent sources to try and tri­an­gu­late the in­for­ma­tion. We do try to find out if there are in­di­ca­tions that peo­ple have tried to go to Europe. We con­ducted a ran­dom sur­vey re­cently and found around 40 per­cent of peo­ple said they ei­ther knew some­one or heard of some­one who has left,” Gi­rard says. Le­banon’s In­ter­nal Se­cu­rity Forces have pre­vented il­le­gal de­par­tures. Ac­cord­ing to United Na­tions’ es­ti­mates, about half of the In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mi­gra­tion’s fig­ure of 332,000 asy­lum seek­ers through Au­gust 2015 that tried to reach Europe from the Mediter­ranean Sea were Syr­ian.

Ex­ec­u­tive was only able to ob­tain con­clu­sive data on the num­ber of for­mal re­set­tle­ments to third coun­tries. Since 2013, coun­tries have agreed to re­set­tle­ment pledges for some 162,000 Syr­ian refugees from coun­tries across the Middle East. For 2015, the num­ber of pledges al­lo­cated for refugees in Le­banon is 16,600. Through Oc­to­ber 2015, some 4,228 Syr­ian refugees had left Le­banon to third coun­tries through re­set­tle­ment pro­grams. The aim, UN­HCR’s Gi­rard told Ex­ec­u­tive, is to soon­errather- than- later re­set­tle 10 per­cent of Le­banon’s Syr­ian refugee pop­u­la­tion. “With 1 mil­lion refugees in Le­banon, our tar­get is 100,000. That would be no­ticed by ev­ery­body and would have an im­pact,” she said.

In the near term, that tar­get for Le­banon will be slow to reach. The process of re­set­tle­ment takes time, with refugees some­times de­part­ing more than a year af­ter their ap­pli­ca­tion is sub­mit­ted. Since 2011, only 10,155 Syr­ian refugees in Le­banon have been re­set­tled — pri­mar­ily to coun­tries in the Amer­i­cas, Europe and Ocea­nia. UN­HCR says they can­not give a spe­cific coun­try-by-coun­try break­down of where refugees were re­set­tled.

For 2016, UN­HCR is still wait­ing to hear what re­set­tle­ment quo­tas will be al­lo­cated for Le­banon. With seem­ingly no end to the war along­side de­te­ri­o­rat­ing liv­ing con­di­tions, Syr­ian refugees in Le­banon no doubt ques­tion their fu­ture. Only a few, how­ever, will re­ceive a per­ma­nent an­swer.

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