Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Lebanese law forces Syrian refugees underground

"Ibrahim waited outside the legal clinic with his most valuable belongings – Syrian ID, passport, a document proving his status as a UN-registered refugee and a notarised pledge promising not to work in Lebanon – all in a crumpled shopping bag.

The 47-year-old father of five from Aleppo meets all the requirements for a residency permit in Lebanon, but when he last applied he was told his promise to stay jobless wasn’t believable and he therefore needed a Lebanese citizen to vouch for him.

So he did what most others do. He became illegal.

A complicated set of laws has made obtaining legal residency in Lebanon so difficult that an estimated two-thirds of the country’s Syrian refugees now lack the proper papers, putting them at constant risk of arrest.

Ibrahim chanced it to seek out legal advice, crossing Lebanese army checkpoints on his way through the eastern Bekaa Valley, but found little respite. “The lawyer said there was nothing to be done: either find a sponsor or lay low,” he told IRIN, still clutching the shopping bag."

Read on IRIN News

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