The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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February 28, 2014

The Daily Star - Minister Comprehensive refugee plan in the works, February 28, 2014

Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas has announced that he is working on a comprehensive plan to manage humanitarian assistance delivery to Syrian refugees in the country.

“The aid targeting Syrians should be more organized because it could be distributed in a disorderly way. There should also be a transitional stage in which refugees are received, then redistributed to camps. This is part of a plan being prepared at the ministry,” Derbas told Al-Sharq radio station.

“I will discuss this with President Michel Sleiman in order to develop a comprehensive plan that we can present to the Cabinet,” he added.

There are about 930,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon registered with the UNHCR, or nearly a quarter of the country’s population, but the government puts the total number far higher. They are dispersed throughout the country, with the highest concentrations in areas that have the lowest level of infrastructure relative to national standards.

The deluge of refugees to already underdeveloped areas has resulted in increased demand for social services and strained the nation’s feeble system for such resources.

“The international community has been reluctant to support the Lebanese state because there was a void in the executive authority and because the caretaker government had announced at the time that it wouldn’t take responsibility whereas now, a new Cabinet has formed and it will soon be given a vote of confidence by Parliament. This will reassure the international community that we are a valid partner to receive donations,” Derbas said.

After a meeting with Speaker Nabih Berri, Derbas warned against the “imminent danger” of not properly managing the presence of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, “especially when state capabilities can’t bear this burden demographically or geographically,” he said.

“We will try to get some of the most urgently needed aid from the international community during the Paris Convention,” he said.

Derbas relayed Berri’s words, saying Lebanon was in “real need of financial and economic aid but also political support because resolving the Syrian refugee issue does not just require that we help them. It also requireswe resolve the original problem by facilitating a resolution in Syria so that the Syrians can go back to their country.”

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