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Refugees and Migrants

Refugees In Lebanon: Setting A Research &


Advocacy Agenda, A Research Workshop
MIDDLE EAST and ISLAMIC STUDIES
GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

Provisional Report

AUB College Hall, Auditorium B1 - July 21, 2015

REFUGEES & MIGRANTS - REFUGEES IN LEBANON

Background
Refugees & Migrants Project
The Refugees & Migrants Project seeks to create a resource for scholarly production and
advocacy on refugee, stateless, internally displaced, and migrant populations throughout the
Middle East.
Fifty-five percent of the worlds refugee population resides in the Middle East making it home
to the largest concentration of refugee populations globally. The largest amongst these are
Palestinian refugees produced as a result of war who are stateless in some contexts, internally
displaced in others, and victims of secondary and tertiary displacement in still other contexts.
They also include an influx of Iraqi refugees engendered by the 2003 US war against, and
occupation of, Iraq. Since the advent of the Arab Uprisings, these refugee communities have
steadily grown as a result of armed conflict and civil unrest, particularly in Syria, Libya, and
Yemen as well as in the Sudan, and Somalia.
The Middle East is also the site of a significant migrant labor force especially in the domestic,
service, and construction sectors. Despite their large numbers, they reside in the Middle East
with relatively little to no government regulation. The lack of greater oversight together with
their diminished political power subjects this vulnerable population to considerable
exploitation.
Beyond those populations who have been forcibly displaced or who have voluntarily sought
economic opportunities across borders are a number of other stateless populations suffering
from de facto and de jure statelessness like the Kurds of Syria as well as the children of refugee
men and/or of women born out of wedlock in Lebanon and Egypt, for example.
The regions density of migrant and refugee communities is not commensurate with the
scholarly research, civil society advocacy, or social awareness regarding their conditions. This
Project seeks to encourage scholarly production, advocacy efforts, and political awareness
concerning transitory populations across the Middle East. It aims to address pertinent questions
regarding applicable law, the socio-political status of these communities, as well as the political
initiatives necessary to address their pressing needs. Some of those questions include:

Have states adhered to temporary protection regimes? How have they been implicated by
the influx of refugees across the region?
What domestic, regional, and international legal instruments regulate the status of
refugees, IDPs, and stateless people in each country?
What domestic, regional, and international legal instruments regulate the status and rights
of migrant labor in each country?
How have protracted refugee situations impacted the socio-political standing of refugees?

REFUGEES & MIGRANTS - REFUGEES IN LEBANON

How have overlapping refugee populations interacted with one another?


How have transitory populations played a role in shaping national identities?
How are LGBTQ communities been overlooked or, perhaps, over-served by international
refugee agencies?
What role have UN agencies played and how do they interact with one another from
country to country?
How have transitory populations shaped the regions political economy of resources,
labor, and flow of international aid?
What is the potential of legislative efforts on alleviating humanitarian conditions?
How do civil society organizations serve vulnerable communities? Which communities
are underserved? Which are served most?
How does racism in the Arab world impact the treatment of refugees and migrants from
varying countries?
How does the flow of populations across borders impact the construction of racial
identities and gendered politics?

Refugee Workshop-Lebanon
The Refugee Workshop-Lebanon is part of this larger
project and is the first in a series of Country
Assessment Roundtables. These workshops seek to
assess the relationship between states and their
residents as well as engendering new discussions
about refugees and migrants in the Middle East.
The Lebanon Workshop focused on refugees,
including stateless persons, and internally displaced
persons (IDPs) but not on migrants. The workshop
aimed to propose a set of critical research questions
and/or components of advocacy initiatives for
scholars, agencies, organizations, think tanks, and
institutions concerned with refugee populations in
Lebanon.
The project sought to evaluate how a set of decentralized factors, namely stakeholders, aid, and
law, intersect and shape the conditions and prospects by refugee communities within Lebanon
as well as to elucidate the relationship between the State and its non-citizen residents.
To this end, the Workshop organizers solicited suggestions for research questions and advocacy
campaigns accompanied by a justification from each participant. These were collated and
circulated among confirmed participants for review. The participants then convened for a oneday workshop to discuss, amend, and finalize those suggestions. More generally, the research

REFUGEES & MIGRANTS - REFUGEES IN LEBANON

and advocacy suggestions constituted a springboard for a broader discussion on the question of
refugees in Lebanon that touched on some of the following:

Existent refugee communities within Lebanon and the humanitarian conditions they
endure;
Services available to them as well as the relative disparities among them as a result of
government intervention, foreign aid, and available social services;
The work of civil society organizations engaged in advocacy on their behalf;
The legal regimes (refugee, civil, and criminal) regulating the lives of refugees including
their migratory flow, their status within Lebanon, as well as their access to employment;
The relationship between refugees and Lebanese host society as well as among the
refugees;
The relationship of the UN agencies to the State and the States role with a broader
international community; and
The role of the State in relation to citizens and non-citizens alike
The workshop was intended to initiate a
conversation without offering definitive
conclusions. While, the organizers aimed to
set a research and advocacy agenda for the
benefit of scholars, NGOs, multilateral
agencies, and other relevant stakeholders, the
discussion organically took a slight turn.
Using the questions and advocacy suggestions
as a point of departure, the Workshop
participants raised new questions and
approaches to understanding the status and
future of refugees in Lebanon.

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Workshop Agenda
SESSION ONE | 10-11 | Introductions of Workshop and Participants
SESSION TWO | 11-12 | Brainstorming additional questions
SESSION THREE | 12-1 | Refugees and Lebanon
LUNCH | 1-2
SESSION FOUR | 2-3:30 | Palestinian Refugees & Refugees From Syria
SESSION FIVE | 3:30-5 | Concurrent discussions
Public and Medical Health
Gender-Based Violence
Labor and The Right To Work
Housing and Property
National Governance and Self-Governance
Durable Solutions, Protection Gaps, and International Institutions

SESSION SIX | 5-6 | Finalize Research Questions and Advocacy Campaigns

ANNOTATED PROVISIONAL AGENDA

SESSION ONE | 10-11 | Introductions of Workshop and Participants

Overview of Refugees and Migrants Project + Lebanon Workshop-Refugees

One-sentence introduction of everyone around the table

Review of workshop materials broken down into theme and refugee population

Overview of the agenda and revisiting the workshop goals: Propose a research and advocacy
agenda

SESSION TWO | 11-12 | Brainstorming additional questions


What are questions that should have been asked that did not appear and what questions would you pose
to one another?
1. What is the relationship between these refugee communities?
2. What are the protection gaps between the refugee communities?

REFUGEES & MIGRANTS - REFUGEES IN LEBANON

3. What is the relationship between Palestinian refugees fleeing from Syria and those who have
been there since 1948 and 1967?
4. What is the state of Iraqi refugees in Lebanon? Do these conditions help explain the absence of
attention and resources committed to this population?
SESSION THREE | 12-1 | Refugees and Lebanon
What is the relationship between out of status persons, generally, and state institutions?
1. Why are refugees in Lebanon treated as a security concern rather than as a humanitarian one?
How is this reflected in the Lebanese legal system as well as in services offered to refugees as
well as rights afforded to them (i.e., labor, health, housing, property)?

2. What are the implications of multilateral agencies (UNHCR and UNRWA) serving as the
primary source of humanitarian protection for refugees? What is the relationship between these
agencies and the State and how does that shape the welfare of refugees?
LUNCH | 1-2
SESSION FOUR | 2-3:30 | Palestinian Refugees & Refugees from Syria
There is consensus that Palestinian refugees should be afforded civil rights (right to work and right to
own property) in Lebanon, but disagreement over whether to achieve this by demanding civil rights or
instead by waging a political campaign from which civil rights flow. How does this discussion inform
necessary research and advocacy?
Lebanon is host to one of the most significant Syrian refugee populations. Despite the fact that Syrian
conflict appears to be of a protracted nature, Lebanon continues to deal with them by provided
temporary protection. What issues does this raise and how should the state and international institutions
respond?
SESSION FIVE | 4-5 | Concurrent discussions
Public and Medical Health
Gender-Based Violence
Labor and The Right To Work
Housing and Property
National Governance and Self-Governance
Durable Solutions, Protection Gaps, and International Institutions
SESSION SIX | 5-6 | Finalize Research Questions and Advocacy Campaigns

REFUGEES & MIGRANTS - REFUGEES IN LEBANON

Observations and Recommendations


Observations
1) Addressing the question of refugees without distinction to national populations
facilitated a discussion about the Lebanese state and its relationship to its residents and
citizens, more broadly. This approach helped transcend the superimposed categories
among refugees based on UN mandate, namely UNRWA and UNHCR, as well the
treatment of refugees based on the political circumstances in their countries of origin.
As a result, one can approach the question of refugees in Lebanon from a level of
abstraction that illuminates challenges within the State and its institutions. By shifting
the focal point of analysis from the needs of the refugee communities, the question is no
longer what can the State do to better serve its refugee communities but rather what can
the State do to function better in general. Thus, the question is not how to improve
medical services for refugees but rather how to improve Lebanons public health system
for all of its residents. Similarly, rather than demand that refugees have the right to
work, the impetus is to improve Lebanons labor conditions and the strength of its labor
force, write large.

2) There are two ways to approach refugee questions in the Middle East- either as
humanitarian beneficiaries or as political agents. In light of the large concentration of
refugee populations in the Middle East, host states and refugee communities have the
potential to redefine the proper approach to refugee policy for the rest of the world.
Examining refugees as humanitarian beneficiaries limits their political agency and
places them at the whim of host states, donor states, and multilateral institutions.
Conversely, viewing them as political agents places a greater onus on them as political
partners and drivers of transformative justice. The latter approach makes refugee
populations more of a risk to host societies and thus undermines their ability to obtain
refuge. Simultaneously, however, because of the large concentration of refugees in the
Middle East, it makes sense to ascribe these populations with greater political agency.
This would also shift the relationship between the refugees and those agencies and
organizations created to serve them. Rather than define the needs of the refugee
populations, the refugee populations would drive the agendas of those agencies and
organizations that aim to serve them. Also, this shift would enable refugees to unite
across national divisions with one another and with other residents of their host
societies.

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3) The protracted nature of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon raises serious questions of


how to properly deal with the needs of long-standing refugee populations and newly
arriving refugee populations. There is an impulse to deal with the most urgent needs of
newly arriving refugees. This, however, stands to exacerbate the already meager
provisions available to protracted refugee populations. Alternatively, prioritizing the
needs of long-standing populations risks failing to serve the most acutely affected
populations. This challenge is further complicated by the fact that refugees from Syria
include Palestinian refugees. While Palestinian refugees from Syria fall under
UNRWAs mandate, like the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and unlike their Syrian
refugee counterparts, their basic needs as well as their national future is more
proximately intertwined with Syrian refugees than it is with Palestinian refugees in
Lebanon since 1948. This creates a challenge for all stakeholders including NGOs, UN
agencies, Lebanon, Lebanese host society, as well as refugee populations themselves to
properly address the most pressing short and long-term needs of refugees in Lebanon.

4) The treatment of Palestinian refugees in in Lebanon is a site of experimentation for the


treatment of other refugees. The denial of the right to work for Palestinian refugees, for
example, becomes the precedent and logic that denies similar rights to new refugee
populations in Lebanon. The securitization of Palestinian refugee camps informs the
security approach to Syrian and Iraqi refugees who are subject to curfews and indefinite
detention for failure to prove legitimate status. As such, the approximation of
Palestinian rights in Lebanon must be done without exceptionalizing the condition of
Palestinian refugees. Instead, they must be treated as a site of experimentation for the
treatment of other refugee populations and advocacy on behalf of any one of these
populations, or all of them together, should respond to this framework.
5) Lebanon has deliberately established a policy vacuum in regard to refugees. This creates
a formidable challenge for policy reform on behalf of refugee populations and raises a
significant question about who is the proper stakeholder in Lebanon to whom demands
for reform should be addressed? If not the state, is it a cluster of state institutions?
Alternatively, is it Lebanese society? Or is it the refugees themselves? Should advocates
address UN agencies and state representatives? Or should reform target humanitarian
and human rights NGOs that have become staples in the refugee industry in Lebanon?
Even raising these questions helps elucidate the challenges facing refugees in Lebanon
and helps inform the proper strategic approaches to addressing them.

REFUGEES & MIGRANTS - REFUGEES IN LEBANON

It is critical to revisit the campaign for civil and political rights of Palestinian refugees in
Lebanon. This campaign has failed to yield material gains for Palestinian refugees and requires
evaluation. One possibility is to consider shifting the primary campaign among Palestinian
refugees from a campaign demanding their civil rights, namely to work and own property, to a
political campaign that centers them as agents of change. This campaign should be built around
the demand for return to their original homes. From this political mobilization, refugees can
leverage their power to make other demands including those for civil rights. Prioritizing the
right to work and the right to own property for more decades on end, risks deflating the agency
of Palestinian refugee populations. This is already indicated in a waning interest among
Palestinian refugee populations to engage in advocacy campaigns for civil rights. These need
not be mutually exclusive initiatives and can in fact be temporally staggered in light of strategic
considerations. The point is that this should be highlighted as a much-needed debate in order to
evaluate the state of affairs of Palestinian refugees and to empower them as agents of change.

Recommendations
Advocacy
1) Lebanons own internal challenges (i.e., sectarian, corruption, policy vacuum re
refugees) creates a conflict of how to best serve refugees. If we distinguish the
communities as protracted refugee situations (PRS), as opposed to emergency refugees,
and urge the government to afford PRS civil rights, we may be undermining the rights
of emergency refugees. If, alternatively, we afford the most urgent needs to refugees
fleeing Syria (Palestinian refugees included), we would be undermining and

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exacerbating the conditions of Palestinian refugees who have been in Lebanon for
decades. There are two possible ways to address this:
a. Distinguish these as long-term policy and short-term policy agendas. In this
way, the refugee communities are not distinguished to the disadvantage of any
one group. Instead, the most acute needs of all refugees are addressed.
Address the problem as one dealing with the Lebanese State writ large - deal
with the entire state and its provisions to all residents of the state without
distinction to citizens, refugees, internally displaced, stateless persons.
b. Refugees are sites of political agency and not clusters of misery- for this reason
we should leverage their political power. Organize refugees to function as
unions who can demand their rights alongside or in collaboration with other
local parties and groups. They should organize themselves around a
policymaking agenda.

2) In light of UNRWAs protection gap, two things can be done:


c. Place pressure upon state actors to expand UNRWAs mandate to include
durable solutions and thus enhance its protection of Palestinian refugees; and
d. Place pressure on UNCHR to enhance its collaboration with UNRWA in terms
of fundraising, border control, housing, provisions, employment rights, and all
other practical functions short of durable solutions.

3) Place pressure upon multilateral institutions, like the human rights treaty bodies and the
Human Rights Council, as well as the European Union, the World Bank, and the IMF
which can then exert pressure upon the state.
4) Target host societies, including civil organizations and media, in order to resist the
exploitation and demonization of refugees. This assumes that host societies can
influence the government.
5) Resuscitate local body councils and risk management teams that are in a much better
position to govern refugee communities and oversee the provision of basic goods, the
creation of jobs, and the distribution of funds earmarked for refugee populations.
Research
1) Lebanons relationship to refugees is not just a matter of security but also economic and
political as well - how does this inform the treatment of refugees?

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2) How does the relationship to UNHCR and


UNRWA impact Lebanons official policy
towards refugees? How are these
international institutions supporting and
benefitting the state? How does Lebanon
leverage its significant refugee population
among other States to either approximate
privileges and/or to deflect responsibilities?
3) What are proper definitions for the following
categories: forced displacement (refugees,
IDPs, statelessness), migrants, de jure
statelessness, displacement?
4) How have recent shifts in the Middle East (i.e., occupation of Iraq, proxy regional civil
war in Syria, intervention in Libya and Yemen, and the rise of non-state actors like IS)
redefined the Arab-Israeli conflict? How, in turn, does that impact the status of
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon as well as their relationship to Palestinian refugees
from Syria who have recently fled to Lebanon?
5) What are the protection gaps between Lebanons refugee populations from Syria, Iraq,
and Palestine? What explains those gaps?
6) What is the relationship between Palestinian refugees fleeing from Syria and those who
have been there since 1948 and 1967? Is there a singular Lebanese policy that impacts
them? If not, why not and what does it tell us about protection gaps and necessary
initiatives to close them?
7) What is the state of Iraqi refugees in Lebanon? Do these conditions help explain the
absence of attention and resources committed to this population?
8) How are refugees in Lebanon treated as a security and economic concern rather than as
a humanitarian one? How is this reflected in the Lebanese legal system as well as in
services offered to refugees as well as rights afforded to them (i.e., labor, health,
housing, property)?
9) What are the implications of multilateral agencies (UNHCR and UNRWA) serving as
the primary source of humanitarian protection for refugees? What is the relationship
between these agencies and the State and how does that shape the welfare of refugees?
10) What is the relationship between Lebanese (host) society and refugee populations? How
have these relationships shifted and how have those shifts been driven by, and been
beneficial to, the State?

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Proposed Research Questions and Advocacy


Campaigns
The list below features participant input broken down by refugee population and disciplinary
theme. These were circulated among the participants before the workshop for review and
discussed in detail at the workshop.

REFUGEE POPULATIONS
PALESTINIAN REFUGEES IN LEBANON
Research
1. Why has Lebanon not given Palestinian refugees any civil rights after 67 years of
displacement?
2. Why has Lebanon state not given Palestinians the right to work, which will definitely
improve their socio-economic conditions?
3. Why has Lebanon not given the Palestinian refugees the right to own property?
4. Why is UNRWA facing an acute financial problem? Is it a step towards dissolving
UNRWA? Is there any political reason behind the present financial crisis? Is it a step
towards dissolving UNRWA? Or is it a step towards the suspension of the international
communities responsibility for Palestinian refugees?
5. How can we provide protection to Palestinian refugees in the absence of the States
ratification of the Refugee Convention? In the case that Lebanon ratifies the
Convention, how can you prevent the forced nationalization of Palestinian refugees?
6. How do you provide protection from gender-based violence among refugee by drawing
on international responsibility established by UNSC 1325?
Advocacy
1. Shift to a political campaign for Palestinian national liberation and abandon campaigns
for social and civil rights of Palestinians in Lebanon. In particular, demand return.
Organizing people around return is a MUST. And it will lead to many important
achievements internally. Consider how the 2011 march to the borders it unified refugees
under one goal, one March, one destiny.
2. Achieve the right to work for Palestinians.

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3. Achieve the right to own property for Palestinians.


4. Cultivate camp governance including electing camp popular committees.
5. Cultivate public support in solidarity with the right of Palestinian refugees to work in
order to leverage political parties forces to implement Labor Law 129 (2010) and
facilitate the procurement work permits.
6. Amend the law of the social insurance 128, to provide the complete social services. This
should be accompanied by a network aimed at monitoring the violations against the
right to work in both the public and private sector.

REFUGEES FROM SYRIA


SYRIAN REFUGEES
Research
1. What are the political determinants of health? How do politics affect the humanitarian
response to Syria crisis?
2. Health finance: What are alternative models of health financing in crisis? How are
Syrian refugees in Lebanon an appropriate case study of this?
3. What are the critical and effective durable solutions for situations of protracted
displacement considering Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon as a case study?
4. Is it time to challenge (or maybe demolish) the UN(HCR)s monopoly of humanitarian
work in regards to refugees in the Middle East?
5. What is the likely impact and outcome of the dramatic increase in the number of the
Syrian refugees in Lebanon in light of the lack of a comprehensive Lebanese national
plan to properly deal with this challenge?
6. Given that the majority of Syrian refugees access housing in Lebanon through the
channels of the (informal) housing market, what are the channels of housing acquisition
and the sources of tenure security available for these refugees? And how these channels
transformed as the number of refugees soars and the subsidies/funding shrinks?
7. How can international organizations intervene to improve access to housing for these
refugees, upgrade housing conditions, and reduce tenure insecurity?
8. How do you provide protection from gender-based violence among refugee by drawing
on international responsibility established by UNSC 1325?

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Advocacy
9. Address the labor rights and exploitation of refugees labor power because refugee labor
today has become abundant and thus the Lebanese employer has in turn fired his
Lebanese employees and hired Syrians for half of their salaries.
10. The kafala system was the Lebanese governments way of dealing with the Syrian
refugees since the exodus of Syrian refugees into Lebanon beginning in 2011. The
Lebanese government did not have a plan and instituted an open border policy wherein
it did not recognize Syrians as refugees but as displaced persons. How has this
controlled the bodies of Syrian refugees and how can we adequately address this
condition?
PALESTINIAN REFUGEES
Research
1. What is the status of Palestinian refugees fleeing to Lebanon from Syria and which UN
mandate do they fall under?
2. What are the prospects of resettling Palestinian refugees from Syria in other countries?
3. How do you provide protection from gender-based violence among refugee by drawing
on international responsibility established by UNSC 1325?
IRAQI REFUGEES
1. Time to challenge (or maybe demolish) the UN(HCR)s monopoly of humanitarian
work in regards to refugees in the Middle East.
2. How do you provide protection from gender-based violence among refugee by drawing
on international responsibility established by UNSC 1325?

THEMES
PUBLIC AND MEDICAL HEALTH
1. What are the political determinants of health? How do politics affect the humanitarian
response to Syria crisis?
2. Health finance: What are alternative models of health financing in crisis? How are
Syrian refugees in Lebanon an appropriate case study of this?

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GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
1. How do you provide protection from gender-based violence among refugee by drawing
on international responsibility established by UNSC 1325?
LABOR AND THE RIGHT TO WORK
1. Address the labor rights and exploitation of refugees labor power because refugee labor
today has become abundant and thus the Lebanese employer has in turn fired his
Lebanese employees and hired Syrians for half of their salaries.
2. Shift to a political campaign for Palestinian national liberation and abandon campaigns
for social and civil rights of Palestinians in Lebanon. In particular, demand return.
Organizing people around return is a MUST. And it will lead to many important
achievements internally. Consider how the 2011 march to the borders it unified refugees
under one goal, one March, one destiny.
3. Cultivate camp governance including electing camp popular committees.
4. Cultivate public support in solidarity with the right of Palestinian refugees to work in
order to leverage political parties forces to implement Labor Law 129 (2010) and
facilitate the procurement work permits.
5. Amend the law of the social insurance 128, to provide the complete social services. This
should be accompanied by a network aimed at monitoring the violations against the
right to work in both the public and private sector.
HOUSING AND PROPERTY
1. Achieve the right to own property for Palestinians.
2. Given that the majority of Syrian refugees access housing in Lebanon through the
channels of the (informal) housing market, what are the channels of housing acquisition
and the sources of tenure security available for these refugees? And how these channels
transformed as the number of refugees sores and the subsidies/funding shrinks?
3. How can international organizations intervene to improve access to housing for refugees
in Lebanon, upgrade housing conditions, and reduce tenure insecurity?

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NATIONAL GOVERNANCE AND SELF-GOVERNANCE


1. What is the likely impact and outcome of the dramatic increase in the number of the
Syrian refugees in Lebanon in light of the lack of a comprehensive Lebanese national
plan to properly deal with this challenge?
2. How can we provide protection to Palestinian refugees in the absence of the States
ratification of the Refugee Convention? In the case that Lebanon ratifies the
Convention, how can you prevent the forced nationalization of Palestinian refugees?
3. (Self-governance) Camp governance among Palestinian refugees including electing the
camp popular committees

DURABLE SOLUTIONS, PROTECTION GAPS, AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUIONS


1. What are the critical and effective durable solutions for situations of protracted
displacement considering Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon as a case study?
2. Shift to a political campaign for Palestinian national liberation and abandon campaigns
for social and civil rights of Palestinians in Lebanon. In particular, demand return.
Organizing people around return is a MUST. And it will lead to many important
achievements internally. Consider how the 2011 march to the borders it unified refugees
under one goal, one March, one destiny.
3. What are the prospects of resettling Palestinian refugees fleeing into Lebanon from
Syria in other countries?
4. Time to challenge (or maybe demolish) the UN(HCR)s monopoly of humanitarian
work in regards to refugees in the Middle East.
5. Why is UNRWA facing an acute financial problem? Is it a step towards dissolving
UNRWA? Is there a political reason behind the present financial crisis? Is it a step
towards dissolving UNRWA? Or is it a step towards the cancellation of the international
communities responsibility of the Palestinian refugees?
6. What is the status of Palestinian refugees fleeing Lebanon into Syria and which UN
mandate do they fall under?

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Participant Bios
Sari Hanafi
Sari Hanafi is currently a Professor of
Sociology and Chair of the Department of
Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies
at the American University of Beirut. He is
also the editor of Idafat: the Arab Journal of
Sociology (Arabic). He is the Vice President
of both the International Sociological
Association and the Arab Council of Social
Science. His last book is Arab Research and
Knowledge Society: Fragments of a
Mirror (with R. Arvanitis) (in Arabic, Beirut:
CAUS and forthcoming in English with
Routledge).

Ziad Abdel Samad


Ziad Abdel Samad is the Executive Director, Arab NGO Network for Development. He is also
the Executive Director of the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND). Based in Beirut,
since 1999 ANND brings together 30 NGOs and 9 national networks from 10 Arab countries,
active in the protection of social and economic rights. Abdel Samad is the President of the
Euro-Mediterranean NGO Platform, a network gathering 83 national and regional networks and
organizations He is engaged in many global and regional networks focusing in the economic
and social public policies and targeting regional and global institutions; such as Social Watch,
an international network of citizen coalitions that monitors the implementation of the
commitments made at the 1995 World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen
(www.socialwatch.org). He is also a member of the coordination group of the Civil Partnership
for Development Effectiveness (CPDE). Abdel Samad is the Vice Chair of the Asia Pacific
Research Network (APRN) (www.aprnet.org). He is a member of the Reality of Aid Network
(RoA) (www.realityofaid.org) and active in electoral reforms and monitoring at the national
and regional levels, through the Arab Network for democratic Elections (ANDE) and the Civil
Campaign for Electoral Reforms (CCER) in Lebanon.

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Samir al Khoury
Samir Al Khoury graduated Oxford University in Politics Philosophy and Economics. He was
the Ambassador of Lebanon to Belgium and Luxembourg and Head of Mission of Lebanon to
the European Community (1983-85); then to Japan,
resident in Tokyo, concurrently accredited to the
Republic of Korea and the Philippines (1985-94);
Director of Political & Consular Affairs, and
Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, Beirut (1994-99); Ambassador of
Lebanon to Italy and non-resident Ambassador of
Lebanon to Malta. Concurrently, Khoury served as
the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the
U.N. Organizations: FAO (Food and Agriculture
Organization), WFP (World Food Programme) and
IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural
Development) (1999-2001). By November 2001,
Khoury had completed a 42-year diplomatic career
in the Foreign Service of Lebanon.
On November 2006, he was named Chairman of the
Follow-up Committee on the Employment of
Palestinian Refugees (FCEP) and as of July 2009
renamed as the Committee for Employment of
Palestinian Refugees (CEP) and continues in that position to this date. As of September 2013,
Khoury was elected Chairman of the newly formed NGO, Resource Center for Employment
Promotion and Social Affairs.

Moe Ali Nayel


Moe Ali Nayel is a freelance journalist, fixer, producer, and translator based in Beirut, Lebanon.
He writes for Lebanese-based as well as international and english publications. Nayel works
closely with Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

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Firas Talhouk
Firas Talhouk joined the Samir Kassir Foundation Center for Cultural and Media Freedom on
October 2011 as a Researcher of Cultural and Media violations in Jordan and the 48
Territories. In 2013, he was promoted to Project Coordinator for Lebanon. In that capacity, he
has followed violations against cultural and media freedoms in Lebanon, researched digital
media rights in Lebanon generally as well as more particularly during electoral campaigns. Part
of Talhouks job is to help displaced Syrian journalists and activists in Lebanon by giving them
legal guidance about their situation in Lebanon and help them, through a network of
international foundations such as Reporters with no Frontiers and Human Rights Watch, to be
resettled in Europe and United States.
Prior to his work with the Samir Kassir Foundation, Talhouk worked as a Resettlement
Assistant at UNHCR Beirut dealing with cases of refugees from Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt,
Bahrain, Eritria, and Iran following up cases deciding whether eligible for resettlement or not.
He later moved to registration when the number of displaced Syrians fleeing into Lebanon
increased dramatically. In that capacity, he worked in the field to address the urgent needs of
the displaced and provide rapid assessment of their cases. Talkhouk has been a co-trainer for
the employees of the Ministry of Social Affairs in a two-day training on humanitarian work and
how to deal with a huge flow of refugees. He has consulted Beyond Reform and Development
on how to establish a mechanism for monitoring human rights violations in areas where there
are Syrian refugee camps.

Fouad M. Fouad
Fouad M. Fouad is a Syrian physician. He is currently an assistant professor at the American
University of Beirut. His research focuses on the health effects of displacement inside Syria and
to neighbouring countries Fouad is the lead author in a recent UN-ESCWA publication, which
examines future policy options for health system rebuilding in post-conflict Syria.

Mahmoud Haidar
Mahmoud Haidar gathered experience in developing and directing strategy, marketing,
technical, policy, and general management in government, enterprise, and corporate. He studied
computer & communications engineering (BE, AUB), strategy & innovation (MBA, ED HEC),
and international law & diplomacy (MA, TUFTS).
Haidar sat on numerous firms' and agencies boards, and advised investors and governments on
vision and policy development, technology trends, restructuring, and business undertakings in
Europe, US, and the Middle East.

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Presently, he is chairman of the Beachheads advisory board program of New Zealand in the
Middle East; he directs and consults a number of public and private entities; and he lectures in
business, regulation, public policy, innovation, and critical thinking course matters.
Joumana Merhi
Joumana Merhi is a human rights and womens rights activist since 1985. She is the Director of
the Arab institute for Human Rights Beirut office since 2004; the President of the Democrat
Womens Institute from 2009-2013; the Coordinator of Arab Womens Forum in the Ayesha
Network from 2008-2011; and the Coordinator of the Arab Womens Forum for transitional
societies since 2014. Since 2000, she has worked on various training capacities throughout the
Arab region, mainly with the Arab institute for human rights and a number of other
international and regional institutes.

Noura Erakat
Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney, activist,
and an Assistant Professor at George Mason
University. Her scholarship investigates the laws of
war, human rights, refugee law, and national
security. She is a Co-Editor of Jadaliyya, an
electronic magazine that leverages scholarly
expertise and local knowledge on the Middle East.
She has taught International Human Rights Law
and the Middle East at Georgetown University
since Spring 2009 and before beginning at George
Mason University, she was a Freedman Teaching
Fellow at Temple University, Beasley School of
Law. She has served as Legal Counsel for a Congressional Subcommittee in the House of
Representatives, chaired by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich. While an undergraduate student
at UC Berkeley, Noura helped launch the first university divestment campaign at UC Berkeley
in 2001 and upon graduating from Berkeley Law School, she helped seed BDS campaigns
throughout the country as the National Organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli
Occupation. There, she also helped initiate federal lawsuits in the U.S. against Israeli officials
in for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Rabih Salah
Rabih Salah is the Director of Ajial and athletics coach who grew up between Ain El Helweh,
Beirut, and Yarmouk.

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Rabih Shibli
Rabih Shibli is the Associate Director for Development and Community Projects American
sdUniversity of Beirut.

Wafa Al Yasir
Wafa Al Yasir is the General Director, Palestinian Students Fund in Beirut- Lebanon.

Perla Issa
Perla Issa works with the Institute for Palestine Studies.

Coline Grunblatt
Coline Grunblatt is a Protection Officer with UNRWA-Lebanon.

Mona Fawaz
Mona Fawaz is Associate Professor in Urban Studies and Planning at the American University
of Beirut. Her scholarly interests include social and spatial justice, informality and the law,
property and space, urban history and historiography, as well as planning practice, theory and
pedagogy. She has authored over 40 scholarly articles, book sections, and reports that span
across these topics. Among her recent publications are Notes on Beirut's Historiography:
Towards a People's History of the City" in: Des Banlieues a la Ville, E. Longuenesse and C.
Pieri (eds.), Beirut: Presses de l'IFPO (2013), and The Politics of Property in Planning:
Hezbollahs Reconstruction of Haret-Hreik as Case Study in: International Journal of Urban
and Regional Research 38(3): 922934. During the 2014/15 academic year, Fawaz was a
fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies where she worked on her forthcoming
book provisionally titled When the Plan Fails and Urban Regulations are Bypassed: Narrating
Beirut from its Peripheries.

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APPENDIX
Transcript for Refugees in Lebanon: Setting a Research & Advocacy Agenda
These meeting notes do not reflect what participants said verbatim. Instead, it is a summary of
each of their remarks.

SESSION ONE | 10-11 | Introductions of Workshop and Participants

Overview of Refugees and Migrants Project + Lebanon Workshop-Refugees

One-sentence introduction of everyone around the table

Review of workshop materials broken down into theme and refugee population

Overview of the agenda and revisiting the workshop goals: Propose a research and advocacy agenda

Participants: Sari Hanafi- Perla Issa-Mahmoud Haidar-Ziad Abdel SamadWafaa al Yassir-Joumana


Merhi-Samir Khoury-Rawan Kayali-Moe Ali Nayel-Fouad Fouad-Firas Talhouk- Coline GrunblattMichael Muarr-Estee Ward- Rabih Salah- Rabih Shibli- Bassam Haddad
Noura Erakat welcomes everybody and briefs them on the overall project and purpose. She presented
in brief what will be discussed in each session and asked for amendments to the proposed agenda. This
is an ongoing working document where several questions are proposed and discussed.
Fouad Fouad: We might want to review the definitions of some issues such as migrants during session
two for example. What is missing here is the concept of displacement that is important having many
dimensions; can it be part of the workshop? Can we link it with the refugees? (Internal displacement)
we should be precise in defining some terms related to refugees, IDPs and other related concepts.
Noura: Though the larger ASI project includes refugees and migrants, todays workshop is specifically
about refugees, which includes stateless persons and internally displaced persons (IDPs) as well.
Samir Khoury: How could this meeting fit with the region and elsewhere? The Lebanese government
is afraid with the word refugee because of the experience with the Palestinians, displaced means they
are internally displaced.
Noura: this falls under ASI (mother umbrella) and reflected in Jadaliyya dedicated to all issues hoping
to conduct research producing those findings and soliciting articles and publishing call for papers. We
might call for a regional conference

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Ziad Abdel Samad: Asfari raised the question between academia and civil society so this workshop
might want to elaborate on this issue. There is a gap of understanding between the political agenda and
rights based agenda so we might be undermining rights under the political wing? This should be raised.
When we talk about refugees, we have also Palestinians of different legal frameworks (1967,etc).
When we analyze those points, we have to know what to do?
Noura: knowledge production is important
Sari Hanafi: the dichotomy between the political and the rights is important because the rights
dimension is political. I agree with putting Socio economic rights hand in hand with the right of return
as Rabih said, however, we should be clear that this is not a lip service because there is a civil violence
against Palestinians.
Noura: there is a concern on the socio economic level but there also should be a strategic dimension
going hand in hand with the program
Firas Talhouk: It is important to identify those definitions because UNHCR do not deal with Syrians
as refugees but rather as displaced, so we should define their rights. Palestinian and Syrian refugees
differ, how does UNRWA deal with people coming from Syria? We have to know what does the
Lebanese government understand those concepts. Iraqis, Yemenis, Palestinians and others are called
refugees except for Syrians thinking that they will be resettled later on which means there will be lack
of legal rights
Joumana Merhi: There are many displaced people from Bahrain and Sudan registering with UNHCR.
Mahmoud Haidar: In session six, we need to add comments to the model in order to develop it. Many
of the questions will depend on self -determination of refugees. From a research point of view, there
are many angles to deal with having different frameworks. It is not only an intellectual exercise but
rather how can we be effective on the advocacy level? Research can be free, the best for us is to frame
our thinking with a policy (advocacy versus research)
Moe Ali Nayel: refugees are asking to determine their own fate, organizing their lives and fates
beyond NGOs so what do refugees need is the most important thing
Wafaa al Yassir: Palestinians coming from Syria are treated in a different way than Syrians coming
from Syria due to legal reasons; they should be treated like Syrians because the crisis is affecting
everybody
Noura: what can we build on that research and developed it furthermore? What are the advocacy
agendas that are being proposed? We like to emphasize is the relation between refugees to the state,
who is underserved, is the civil society filling the gap and how?

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SESSION TWO | 11-12 | Brainstorming additional questions


What are questions that should have been asked that did not appear and what questions would you pose to one
another?
Noura introduces session and raises the questions she would ask. Then provided a 7-minute breakout session to
think of additional questions to ask.
1. What is the relationship between these refugee communities?
2. What are the protection gaps between the refugee communities?
3. What is the relationship between Palestinian refugees fleeing from Syria and those who have been there
since 1948 and 1967?
4. What is the state of Iraqi refugees in Lebanon? Do these conditions help explain the absence of attention
and resources committed to this population?

Fouad Fouad: the question should be with the state they are in. The conflict in the region is not new
such as the Palestinian problem and none was solved (Iraq, Palestine, Syria) causing more
displacement and refugees problem, seeming no return. We need other agencies like UNRWA,
discussing the humanitarian response system in a genuine way. We have major problems of chronic
disease because the whole issue is based on issue of temporary crisis that will be solved soon despite
having no experience with a return case. With four million Syrians registered as refugees in countries,
we cannot expect the number of those who will return thus we have to deal with the problem at large.
There are 44,000 Syrian unregistered babies in Lebanon. International agencies deal with temporary
issues while it may not be temporary. 55% of the refugees worldwide are found in the Middle East.
The political determinants of health are important. Being optimistic or pessimistic, we are witnessing a
change on the sykes picot level (boundaries), new entities may emerge from tis geopolitical change
which means we have non state actors such as ISIS, having a big gap in the MENA region so politics is
a major contribution to our thinking. We may witness different communities in Lebanon due to the
Lebanese fragile state system. (Problems at the health and education levels), there is no resettlement
program. The world food program is going to reduce its provision which means there is a huge
universal problem for everybody. We should not avoid these major questions that ought to be addressed
for the benefit of both host communities and refugees. We need to have a revision on the humanitarian
system, the way of thinking to fit with emergency, we need to advocate for this kind of work. Taking
Lebanon as an example, what could be the advocacy plan? There is no good public system and stable
political system, accusing refugees of different problems, pushing us to think about solutions
Moe Ali Nayel: UNRWA was a complete failure doing nothing to Palestinians. It is a refugee body
problem that needs to be dealt with in a clear cut mechanism imposing solutions not viewing them as
clusters of human misery. The right of return should be prioritized because it is a central issue. There
are NGOs lecturing refugees on life and getting salaries, literally there is no protection at all and no
results were shown on the ground, on paper everything is utopian, however, in practice nothing
happened.

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Samir Khoury: I want to be optimistic seeing Syrian refugees as people who will return unlike
Palestinians whom Israel sees as a danger for return. In the Syrian case, there might be a political
solution. Putting all refugees under one umbrella is not beneficial. Syrian Palestinians are undercutting
the labor market of Palestinians themselves vis a vis this influx so there is a difference between
Palestinian refugees in 48 and 67 and those who just came, so there is a tension between those
communities. The NGO community in Lebanon is trying to push/lobby Lebanon to sign the refugee
convention which is very hard to happen. We should go to the international community for the
advocacy dimension; our advocacy should be directed at them because they provide the funds that help
UNRWA and UNHCR. We need a revolution to eliminate corruption in Lebanon
Joumana Merhi: The right to education for refugees is important (Palestinians and Syrians); it should
be an important issue that ought to be dealt with. We need to educate those people helping them to
continue their lives. There are huge numbers of refugees that were not embraced in the educational
system despite promises made by the leb govt due to racist treatments. This issue is important and it is
not given a priority. Another case is using children in war and warfare related activities such as
religious fundamentalist groups which is increasing terrorism not giving importance to that issue
Coline: Right of education is important, we dont see advancement for Syrian refugees, Syrian
Palestinians, there is no clear sign for the allocation of rights, multilayer fold of dynamics difficult for
UNHCR to move in the advocacy campaign. There is a fear of integration of those groups having laws
being used differently for different refugees/community groups which is obstructing the work of many
NGOs in Lebanon preventing any kind of common decision. For the past fifteen years, we witnessed
more praising/recognition for UNRWA work in protection with Palestinians in Lebanon. If people want
to achieve resettlement for Palestinians, then it needs a political decision. There is a protection gap at
the mandate level (in terms of right to return or resettlement), there are a lot of concrete efforts at the
level of helping vulnerable groups in Lebanon, it is a political solution for Palestinians, it is not
UNRWAs responsibility/mandate, there ought to be work at the advocacy level
Ziad Abdel Samad: The Palestinians are struggling for the right to return not to be resettled. This
highlight flows in international law. There are gaps and inability to enforce international law. Who is
responsible for the implementation of protection? We need another step in advance. Some studies try to
show positive experiences with Palestinian refugees which shows there is a political dimension. Let us
not undermine the impact of demography everywhere in the Middle East, how to alleviate this
problem. What is the role of the international community? What is the responsibility of the
international community involving the UN when it comes to protection? There are tensions among
other agencies such as UNICEF and OCHA tackling all kinds of problems, this is the model through
which the international community should tackle and resolve, thinking about the gaps and how to
implement the new principles and the responsibility to protect
Sari Hanafi: we should operate categorization between protracted refugees and emergency refugees.
Emergency refugees (Syrians?) are a five years period because people are usually integrated vs
protracted refugees (Palestinians?) which show the importance of the right of return. Radical national
ideology emerges within certain forms of settlement, this does not mean that camps generate terrorism

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and will never do it. There is a whole dynamic between city and camp, camps ought to be opened only
if the status of Palestinians in Lebanon is clear and clarified, and they have an unclear status paving the
way for the camps to be an open space. The permanent solution entails not only forcing people to
return, it is related to the situation at hand.
Noura: UNRWA is insufficiently working needing a clear relationship with UNHCR and clarifying an
advocacy plan, need for more collaboration to close the gaps. Another issue is to differentiate between
protracted versus emergency situations which means there are different duties from the state part thus
informing a policy agenda . The right to work is an important theme to consider as an advocacy issue
without distinguishing between refugees
Wafaa al Yassir: Aidoun are the ones who deal with the rights of return. We are not ignoring the right
of return because this is the ultimate right and goal of any refugee, an issue advocated everywhere
(global groups working on this). Why dont we expand the terms of reference of UNRWA to include
protection instead of involving UNHCR with UNRWA? We should include the relation between the
refugees and the host communities/society, whether poor communities or not because there are some
tensions between them, that is an important issue that ought to be tackled. The host communities were
positive in the beginning, however, relations changed and tension was existent. UNRWA is changing
lately, playing an important role on the right of return aspect in coordination with ILO, we urge
UNRWA to lead in the advocacy role. The right of return is important, however, there are other
important issues to deal with which have more priorities. Noura: we invited them and will meet some
of them tomorrow. I also recommend the expansion of UNRWA mandate vis a vis the state hand in
hand with coordination with UNHCR (we have seen that happening in Iraq)
Mahmoud Haidar: The policy whatever it is seems a crisis policy, policy making in a crisis which is
creating a deadlock. The change at the level of the community is important after blaming refugees for
all kinds of problems, we have to produce figures proving that those refugees are positively
contributing to Lebanon on the economic level (rich Syrians) so studies changing the perception of the
Lebanese community is important, producing info graphics depicting the level of Palestinian
contribution to the economy. Advocacy transpires the international community, however, because of
the acute nature of the crisis, it does take them at another level, and we need to use advocacy channels
through UNHCR to ameliorate the situation internally. On the advocacy level, who are we? It is largely
an interplay between international and regional powers, civil society becomes marginalized
Firas Talhouk: Resettlement is the last protection resort. Integration is the second one (education, etc)
the first one is the return aspect. The importance of differentiating between Syrian and Palestinian
refugees because Palestinians are not allowed to deal with UNHCR in Lebanon which means there is a
major problem at the advocacy level. It is up to the individual to decide his/her fate. Some dont have
the right of return as a primordial issue, staying illegally in Lebanon is a more important issue
Noura: UNHCR should expand more services requiring more advocacies. Syrian refugees may
become protracted refugees. Education and child exploitation and housing fall under large policy
questions. How is the state benefiting from UNHCR and UNRWA in Lebanon?

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SESSION THREE | 12-1 | Refugees and Lebanon


What is the relationship between out of status persons, generally, and state institutions?
1. Why are refugees in Lebanon treated as a security concern rather than as a humanitarian one? How is
this reflected in the Lebanese legal system as well as in services offered to refugees as well as rights
afforded to them (i.e., labor, health, housing, property)?
2. What are the implications of multilateral agencies (UNHCR and UNRWA) serving as the primary
source of humanitarian protection for refugees? What is the relationship between these agencies and the
State and how does that shape the welfare of refugees?
LUNCH | 1-2
SESSION THREE | 2-3 | Palestinian Refugees & Refugees from Syria
1. There is consensus that Palestinian refugees should be afforded civil rights (right to work and right to
own property) in Lebanon, but disagreement over whether to achieve this by demanding civil rights or
instead by waging a political campaign from which civil rights flow. How does this discussion inform
necessary research and advocacy?
2. Lebanon is host to one of the most significant Syrian refugee populations. Despite the fact that Syrian
conflict appears to be of a protracted nature, Lebanon continues to deal with them by provided
temporary protection. What issues does this raise and how should the state and international institutions
respond?

Rabih Salah: The problem is about the administration, being part of the political system is not suitable
for Palestinians, the right of labor is an administrative issue , the problem is the ownership of the land
of the camp because the government owns it which means there is an administrative problem.
Campaigns are not enough, the administrative aspect is important, agencies have their own
international hidden agendas and the international community has its own plan for the refugees. How
can we organize the camps, making it more visual for Lebanese? When the Palestinians from Syria
came, they saw a lot of corruption in the camps. Rabih replied to wafaa that he never said that it the
political problem does not exist, it does exist along with other problems. If we agree on confronting the
Lebanese system in a revolution against corruption, this means that we all (include the refugees)
confront the system which means the refugees will be considered as a reason of uprising and thus
conflict. Some of us want to be lighter for calling the conflict in different terms, however, we have to
fight for the rights. Isolating the Palestinian refugees is not a good idea, it is a very good issue to
manage Palestinian camps.
Ziad Abdel Samad: Everything is a priority. There are ways of implementing advocacy: we need
people for negotiation, mobilization and research. There is a complementarity of doing things, there is
no either or. We need to find a way to move forward and change things. Some Palestinians outside the
camps have rights, the same approach applies on Syrian refugees.

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Samir al Khoury: this is an oversimplification (rabih) of a complicated problem. The PLOs behavior
triggered a civil war in Lebanon so this is not a right approach, the camps are overcrowded and the
laws are so ambiguous to prevent Palestinians taking their rights, I agree with empowering Palestinians
to launch advocacy to achieve their own rights. There is a total apathy for the Palestinians which led
them not to attend meetings of advocacy, it goes beyond of the administrative problem, they have to
win the hearts of the Lebanese host community so we have to make Lebanese agree that Palestinian
labor is a good thing. We had 700,000 Syrians working in Lebanon and now they have their families
with them, they can exercise their right to return once the situation is solved different from the
Palestinian case so we cannot deal with both refugees at the same time
Fouad Fouad: I would agree with Rabih if we were in 2010-2011, however, right now, this is not the
only problem because there is a change in the region with consequences that push us to think about the
Arab Israeli conflict and its redefinition vis a vis the Syrian uprising. We have to think about an
innovative different thinking. In the last few years, money came to refugees through international
agencies such as the health sector, it ended up with private hospitals and no one benefited from them,
we need Lebanese entities inside the process of improving the situation in Lebanon, this is one aspect
Moe Ali Nayel: we have to come through an innovative way to the young people inside the camp,
reconstructing the image of Palestinians among Lebanese which is not easy at all. They (the youth)
look forward to travel abroad or join Islamic groups. Today, Ain el Helweh is a material for
exploitation at any time; people are interested in concrete solution: take me to Palestine or to Europe.
Wafaa al Yassir: Return is a central issue for all Palestinians but until then we have a difficult socioeconomic status. I dont agree with Rabih that the problem is not political but administrative. The
political system is rejecting Palestinians by depriving them from their rights so they dont become
implanted. During Hariris time, they (Palestinians) were prohibited from possessing property which
aggravated the problem. Engineers, doctors, etc cannot work thus not generate income and have a
normal life: we need to change the legal system, empowerment of refugees, community participation,
civil rights are very important
Sari Hanafi: There is temporality of right. This is not generosity but my right in general. We know
that returning to Palestine is not realist right now but this utopian thing gives us energy to be
mobilized: the issue is about a heavy political component. We should keep an eye on the whole picture,
we abuse one temporality at the expense of others, our work is to make sure that there is a balance
between three temporalities
Mahmoud Haidar: Talking about rights, we are mixing between political reality and fantasies. You
cannot differentiate between political and administrative realities. We should get out of this dictionary
part: what matters or not. I agree with Fouad that the regional change has a great impact, when the
Palestinians went to Jordan and Syria there was a system waiting for them unlike Lebanon, which is
meant to be a vacuum of political realities. In this sense, talking about refugees in Lebanon is
entangled with political structure in Lebanon. Other countries receiving Palestinians had a different
situation. Going back to the political sphere, there is a policy vacuum towards refugees. Today, 45

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percent of the working body is not Lebanese. There is no Lebanese economy that can move on its own.
We are in such a mess, we deal with Syrian refugees without tackling the Palestinian ones, there are
agents who can deliver on the stability intention. Do we have the capacity as a state to deliver services?
We have first to promote reforms on Lebanese soil for all residents on the first place, pushing agenda
of policy making, here we can topics of research going in that direction
Perla Issa: we should consider the relationship between civil society and the refuges and the different
kinds of interaction when talking about refugees apathy, this is related to civil societys ability to lead
advocacy campaigns
Coline: How the Lebanese observe refugees in Lebanon is important. There was some progress but it
was stalled. Who are we and who do we advocate? Coalition of actors as diverse as they are, questions
need to be less dramatic and revolutionary which means we have a problem, the campaign has its own
rules: UNRWA cannot discuss some issues that are the communitys job. It differs on the organizations
nature and scope of work: Lebanese NGO, international, refugees based, and different actors with ways
of doing things so there is a diversity of dialogue rather than disagreement
Firas Talhouk: Refugees are going to be blamed if anything bad happens in terms of strikes for
reforms, outsourcing to address the needs of refugees in Lebanon, we should shed light on the
humanitarian aspect on refugees in Lebanon without emphasizing their nationality, the idea of
outsourcing needs advocacy
SESSION FIVE | 4-5 | Concurrent discussions
Public and Medical Health

Coline: Reinforcement of the Lebanese system or go with the flow and subsidize private system?
Broader general Lebanese problem of corruption so this is a longer term goal, need for research in
terms of cost efficiency because it deals with people who have limited access. Do we support an
inclusive educational system in Lebanon? Fouad: Public health is not only advocacy is also at the
municipality level where vulnerable people exist, we need to do advocacy and research to serve the
issue of public health services, what is the scope of service we are thinking about? Is it broadly
preventive procedures or good equipment? We need to explore this
Gender-Based Violence

Coline: we highlighted on the general situation in Lebanon that is not supportive of women rights and
its approach, family laws, women cannot passes nationality to its children until the overall system is
reaching better quality. In some cases, we need to explore law enforcement which is weak and not
applied to refugees thus it needs to be reinforced and how to mobilize refugee communities themselves
without waiting for the Lebanese political system to change, try to have representatives at the camp
level to lobby for women rights. Also another important issue is the division between Syrian and
Palestinian refugees, there is a need for self empowerment in the face of violence and achieve the right
to work. Syrian refugees would be sponsored at the municipality level to reduce tension with the host
community. We need to push a solid right of return project that is credible (Moe Ali)

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Rabih Shibli: we are working since 2012 on the Syrian process to engage them, this was successful
but there is no landing for a general central idea, talks will go with no impact, there is no body within
the Lebanese geography that absorbs those ideas and put them in a clear cut structure. There is no
coherent strategy in how we deal with this disaster, academia and civil society is living in bubbles.
Lebanon is an exotic mission for UN agencies. We should look for a real impact on refugees lives.
Where is this governance body? There should be an impasse means we have to work in a decentralized
model, councils. Can we revitalize body councils and risk management teams? This is not sustainable
even though some cluster groups are working seriously. There is co representative from the refugees
community. There is a poor performance at the funding level
Samir Khoury: There is an international pressure on Lebanon to give women more rights (UPR in
Geneva, Human rights council) through the Lebanese ambassador in Geneva.
Ziad Abdel Samad: The provision of services to refugees should take into consideration the gender
dimension. I agree with Rabih Sheblis main idea, however, there should be a dialogue among civil
society groups and academia to come up with a unified discourse. We need to look for a decentralized
way but in a central national plan resulting in a tragedy. The private sector is more corrupted than the
public sector because you cannot hold it accountable.
Wafaa al Yassir: Gender in Syrian camps, there was talk of early marriage abuses (Basma and
Zeytoun-Moe Alis example for fighting such problems)
Rabih Salah: Many refugees cannot move inside the country due to checkpoints and mobility
problems, so it is hard to leave the camps. How can we work around syndicates and unions in Lebanon
to help the labor aspect of refugees in Lebanon?
Labor and The Right To Work

Samir Khoury: we engaged several groups in SAIDA, Beirut and Tripoli by writing in newspapers
and social webs to make refugees advocate for their rights
Housing and Property
National Governance and Self-Governance
Durable Solutions, Protection Gaps, and International Institutions

Mahmoud Haidar: We zoomed on UNRWA case. We made 6 suggestions in this regard. 1) We would
like to promote the sustainability of this organization whereby other organizations ought to play a
complimentary role. 2) In terms of our thinking of UNRWAs mandate, we advocate with the players
the card, the Palestinian issue is still a UN matter and should not be diluted. 3) We recommend that
UNRWA operate within the Palestinian community and represent it among some governmental
agencies. 4) UNRWAs legal and protection mandate should be expanded to include durable solutions,

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including greater transparency. 5) Funding is in crisis and is the heart of the matter when it comes to
UNRWA. 6) UNRWA should
Coline: Lebanese authorities need to change perception and policy of refugees registering using
security as an important factor. Lebanon has a complex process creating problems n the future. It is
Lebanons responsibility because Syrian refugees are afraid to put it in the Syrian embassys hands.
SESSION SIX | 5-6 | Finalize Research Questions and Advocacy Campaigns

Final Assessments
Moe Ali: It was productive, the division of audience based on age is important and effective on how to
apply solution and exchange ideas.
Fouad Fouad: This model of multi discipline is good as overall, we could have talked about migrants
but that was fine. we may focus on one theme, how to follow up with this? Emails, projets? We need
concrete outcomes to know what we did, how we evaluate our success?
Samir Khoury: This introductory meeting was useful, however, it could have more narrower focus in a
specialized way, good to share but also to narrow more in depth. It was good that UNRWA is
represented and we also demand the presence of other organizations and thank you to bring us and
addresses of all present people
Ziad Abdel Samad: It is always useful to have this kind of conversation which is enriching. We have a
lot of meetings with many parliamentary groups and we have close experience with them. I ask you
Noura, are you satisfied? Noura: yes we met the goals before you showed up
Rabih Shebli: we can benefit from you, there is a major failure in this part of the world vis a vis
citizenship issues, collective failure such as the refugees crisis. Are we able to form a lobby group
whereby we can address and have a major impact on our decision makers through stakeholders.
Noura reviews next steps & adjourns the workshop:
1. Summarize the findings of the workshop and circulate for review among the participants
2. Collate resources from all of the participants (i.e., scholars, publications, organizations,
resources) to be included in open-source databases
3. Create an excel file featuring all of the participants and their contact information
4. Begin to develop mechanisms for follow-up create a network/working group on refugees and
migrants in the Middle East and mobilize it for the purpose of research and advocacy
5. Invite participants to both conduct interviews for Status Hour Audio Journal as well as to be
guests on Status Hour Audio Journal.

REFUGEES & MIGRANTS - REFUGEES IN LEBANON

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