Lebanon has taken in a huge number of Syrian refugees since the Syria Crisis began. Over one million are officially registered with the Lebanese government, according to the UN. They have the largest refugee population per capita in the world.
In 2011, just as the Syrian civil war was beginning, Lebanon had a population of 4.59 million. Now in 2017, after the influx of many refugees, the country’s population stands at 6.03 million.
Dr. Nasser Yassin, Director of Research at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, has researched the positive effects that Syrian refugees are having on the Lebanese economy. Through his research he wants to promote that refugees are assets – not burdens.
“The narrative constructed around the issue of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and elsewhere is mostly negative and portrays refugees as a burden on societies. You’ll often hear people say things like ‘they’re taking all our jobs, or they’re using up all our resources,’ but these statements are often generalisations and are rarely based on facts,” Yassin said to Stepfeed.
“A refugee only becomes a burden when they are left without education and without an opportunity to contribute to their host countries.”
Syrians are unable to return to their homes, although many of them want to, as the country is still unsafe. International law requires that the return of refugees to be voluntary, to happen in dignity, and to be to a safe place where the reasons for them fleeing in the first place have fundamentally changed – and these conditions are absent in Syria. Any return enforced before the conflict has ended, peace is sustainable and the country is stable, would violate refugees’ rights to a safe, dignified and voluntary return.
Yassin has launched a Twitter series to counter the narrative that refugees are hindering host countries.
— Nasser Yassin (@nasseryassin) May 16, 2017
— Nasser Yassin (@nasseryassin) May 8, 2017
— Nasser Yassin (@nasseryassin) May 12, 2017
— Nasser Yassin (@nasseryassin) May 9, 2017
— Nasser Yassin (@nasseryassin) May 2, 2017
— Nasser Yassin (@nasseryassin) May 4, 2017
— Nasser Yassin (@nasseryassin) April 28, 2017
Through interviews, Yassin discovered that the majority of Syrian refugees do wish to return to Syria once it is safe to do so. Oxfam advocates at all levels for countries to uphold the right of refugees to voluntary return in safety and dignity.
— Nasser Yassin (@nasseryassin) May 17, 2017
Violence has forced many Syrians from their homes, leaving them completely reliant on aid.
Because of your support, Oxfam is there. But this crisis is far from over – help us reach more people in need: