Published On: Mon, Jan 5th,

Faced With The Influx Of Refugees, Lebanon Imposes Visas To Syrians

For the first time, Lebanon hardens the conditions for entry into its territory for Syrian nationals, imposing visas at the border. The measure, which takes effect Monday, aims to limit the influx of refugees.

Beirut now requires visas to Syrian citizens for the first time in the history of the two neighboring countries. The opbjectif: regulate the influx of refugees in Lebanon , which already hosts more than one million , according to the Lebanese authorities.

As of Monday, January 5, Lebanon therefore requires Syrians occurring at the border to specify the purpose of their visit and the length of their stay in the Cedar Country, said Saturday General Abbas Ibrahim, head of unit General Security.

Lebanese and Syrians have always traveled freely across the border since the independence of their country in the 40 Nationals of the two countries should only occur ID. But since the brutal war in Syria that killed more than 200 000 people and scares away almost half of the population, Lebanon has the highest concentration of Syrian refugees in the world per capita.

Lebanon has already undertaken last year to restrict the entry of people fleeing the fighting. In October, the Minister of Social Affairs, Rachid Derbas, indicated that Beirut was no longer receiving Syrian refugees, unless exceptionally for humanitarian reasons.

With the new measure, The goal is to prevent (the Syrians) to take refuge in Lebanon and to regulate the entry of the Syrians more seriously, said Rachid Derbas.

Are thus granted tourist visas, medical, students, transit for consultation from a foreign embassy or for those who benefit from support by a Lebanese. Temporary stays are granted to businessmen and owners of real estate. The tourist visa requires eg a hotel reservation, a valid ID and possession of 1,000 dollars.

However for Ron Edmond, spokesperson of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the fact that the new rules do not “explicitly a clause related to exceptional humanitarian grounds as provided in the government last October policy” include is deplorable.

We understand the reasons cited by the government to introduce these regulations, but it is the international responsibility of UNHCR to ensure that refugees are not forced to go back to situations where their lives would be in danger, Does -he said.

UNHCR again calls on the international community to help Lebanon which was extremely generous and deserves more support it currently receives,” added the spokesman of UNHCR.

According to UNHCR, since the change in Lebanese politics in, Lebanon is already experiencing a fall of more than 50% of the number of Syrian refugees registered with the UN agency between September and November.