UN: Discrimination against Syrian refugees in Lebanon on the rise
Racism and tension amid an economic crisis are reported by the UNHCR.
According to the UN refugee agency in Lebanon, discrimination and violence against Syrian refugees in Lebanon have soared in recent weeks as the country struggles with an economy in free fall and high food prices and shortages.
“We have seen tensions between Lebanese and Syrians at bakeries across the country,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees spokesperson Paula Barrachina told AP. “In some cases even involving shooting and using sticks against refugees.”
The UN's World Food Program says Lebanon is facing a food security crisis with around half of the population food insecure.
Some parts of Lebanon have issued curfews for refugees or asked bakeries to prioritize Lebanese citizens, according to a notice obtained by the AP.
One Syrian refugee was forced to wait for many hours at a bakery before being allowed to buy bread.
A group of men in Bourj Hammoud, in a video that circulated on social media, hit a Syrian boy with a stick and kicked him in the face near a bakery. There were gunshots in the background.
Last week, Lebanese authorities announced that a committee will be formed to break up fights at bakeries.
On its part, the UNHCR called on the Lebanese authorities to “ensure the rule of law and the protection of all persons in the country.”
On Wednesday, it was announced that 49,000 tons of wheat are in the process of being expedited to Lebanon and will be received by the end of the week, according to Economy Minister Amin Salam.
Lebanon hosts 1 million Syrian refugees who fled the war on their country in 2011.
Although Syrian refugees exist in extreme poverty in Lebanon, poverty has been deepening across Lebanon with a deteriorating currency and hyperinflation since 2019.
Read more: Lebanon approves $150 million World Bank wheat loan