More Than 3,000 Syrian Refugee Children in Lebanon Face Eviction from Homes Ahead Of Winter
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Nov. 8, 2017) – The eviction of some 6,000 Syrian refugees, including an estimated 3,200 children, living on the outskirts of Beirut must be stopped immediately, Save the Children said today.
In recent weeks, the refugees, who have been living in rented private accommodations in the al-Hadath neighborhood, were given eviction notices by the local authorities and told they must leave their home in just 10 days, allegedly for violating Lebanon’s Labour Law.
So far, at least 28 families have already had to leave and many still haven’t found an alternative place to stay. Those who have stayed are appealing the decision but many are facing increasing pressure to leave and fear they will be thrown out onto the streets in the coming days.
Tarek,* a resident who has been given an eviction notice said: “We were told to leave because Syrians were not welcome in the area. I had to move out before I got kicked out. I couldn’t imagine being forced to leave in the middle of the night like others were, so I saved my dignity and left with my wife.
“My 11-month-old baby was in the hospital receiving treatment at the time. I have also lost my job as a result. The situation is very desperate. I am worried about my family. I am not sure how we will get by."
The evictions are the first to hit the area but come amid growing calls for Syrian refugees to return to Syria, and follow on from various reports of evictions elsewhere in Lebanon.
The evictions risk putting extremely vulnerable children in further danger, as families now face ending up on the streets as the harsh winter approaches. The evictions will also force many children to drop out of school, and are likely to severely affect their physical and psychological wellbeing.
“These evictions are having an unimaginable toll on very vulnerable children who have already been uprooted from their homes at least once, suffered through war and extreme violence and now face the trauma of losing their homes once again,” said Allison Zelkowitz, Save the Children’s Country Director in Lebanon.
“If the evictions are not halted, these children could become destitute and homeless and risk losing what little sense of safety and normality they have had.
“More than six years ago Lebanon welcomed these children and provided them a place of refuge. The country has been extremely generous in its support and has lived up to its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but it cannot turn its back on refugee children now. It must continue to protect these children, not kick them out onto the streets. We call on the municipal and national authorities to immediately stop these evictions before more children are put at risk.”
Since the outbreak of the war in Syria, Lebanon has taken in more than 1 million registered refugees, who now make up some 25 to 30 percent of the total population. International donors have failed to provide enough support to host countries, with the regional refugee response less than 50 percent funded.
Many of the children in al-Hadath have managed to enrol at schools in the area, however after being evicted they may face challenges finding new places. Many schools in Lebanon are full, and across the country nearly half a million Syrian refugee children are out of school.
Save the Children has worked in Lebanon since 1953. Last year we supported nearly 400,000 people – including 225,000 children – by providing education, shelter, child protection, and projects to improve families’ livelihoods and children’s rights. The organization works with Lebanese and Syrian communities across the country. As the evictions go ahead, Save the Children is preparing to provide financial support to evicted families to help them meet their children’s most critical needs.
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. Learn more at www.SavetheChildren.org.
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