Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) joins lawyers’ and human rights groups’ calls for the Lebanese authorities to grant 6 Syrian refugees leave to remain in the country, and to immediately cease proceedings to deport them back to Syria, where their lives would be in grave danger.
On Sunday, the lawyers of six Syrian refugees currently detained by Lebanese authorities reported that the men have been given a 24-hour ultimatum to either leave Lebanon and travel to a third country, or be deported to Syria, from where they had recently fled. The AOHR UK strongly condemns this ultimatum, which violates both Lebanese national and international norms.
The men have the fundamental right to life, which would be violated if they were to be forcibly returned to Syria – and in particular, to the Daraa governorate, where the men originate and travelled from. The governorate is currently suffering a resumption of armed hostilities between regime and opposition forces.
The men were arrested in late August, following their entry into Lebanon from Syria in the days before.
In the late spring of 2019, Lebanese authorities chose to begin deporting Syrian refugees who entered Lebanon after April of that year. This blanket measure is itself illegal under international law. However, it is not clear by which legal ordinances or even government department is responsible for pressing the ultimatum on the six men in question. Lebanese law requires that the men be charged with an offence and trialled on that basis, or released.
The Syrian regime, with Bashar al-Assad at its head, is responsible for the deaths of 100s of 1000s or Syrians following its violent crackdown on popular protests in 2011. Millions have been displaced by the fighting. Many of those who chose – or were forced – to return to Syria country have suffered appalling mistreatment on arriving to the country.
The men’s lawyers are currently appealing against the order. AOHR UK fully supports such legal efforts, demands an end to any deportation measures, and that they be granted leave to remain.