Hajjar warns against human trafficking networks amid refugee crisis
Lebanon's caretaker Social Affairs Minister sheds light on human trafficking and border security issues with Syria.
Hector Hajjar, Lebanon's caretaker Minister of Social Affairs, unveiled concerns regarding human trafficking and border security amid the ongoing Syrian displacement crisis.
Hajjar stressed, in an interview with Al Mayadeen, the urgent need for international cooperation to address the complex challenges faced by Lebanon.
Minister Hajjar asserted, "There are human trafficking gangs and collusion by some security personnel facilitating displacement from Syria to Lebanon." This revelation underscores the gravity of the situation, as vulnerable Syrians continue to seek refuge in Lebanon.
"There are human trafficking gangs and collusion by some security figures in facilitating the displacement from #Syria to Lebanon... The Lebanese army and the General Security Directorate are making tremendous efforts to prevent the new wave of displacement into the country."— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) September 7, 2023
One of the critical issues highlighted by Hajjar is the inadequacy of border security forces. He stated, "We need 40,000 troops to secure the borders with Syria, but currently, we currently have 8,000 available [to carry out the task]."
Furthermore, Hajjar emphasized that Lebanon cannot address these issues unilaterally, emphasizing the necessity of political and security coordination with Syria. He explained, "We cannot manage border affairs on our own; we need political and security coordination with Syria."
Minister Hajjar also made it clear that Beirut is not in a position to accommodate additional refugees. He stated firmly, "Beirut will not allow the registration of any new refugees in the refugee commission," citing the country's inability to bear the burden of a new wave of Syrian displacement.
While acknowledging the enormous efforts being undertaken by the Lebanese army and the General Security Directorate to prevent illegal entry into Lebanon, Hajjar laid the blame for the crisis at the feet of the United States. He noted, "Syria is facing significant economic siege due to the Caesar Act," holding the US responsible for the new displacement.
"Lebanon is witnessing a new wave of Syrian refugees. #Syria is facing a major economic blockade due to the Caesar Act, and I hold the United States responsible for the new wave of displacement."— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) September 7, 2023
- #Lebanon's caretaker Minister of Social Affairs Hector Hajjar to #AlMayadeen. https://t.co/prWjCH5CZ9
In addition to the US, Hajjar called upon the international community to shoulder the responsibility for the repercussions of the Syrian displacement crisis in Lebanon, emphasizing the urgency of the situation.
Hajjar concluded by warning of the severity of the new Syrian displacement issue and reaffirmed the government's commitment to monitor and address the matter. He also offered advice to Syrian youth, encouraging them to endure the challenges in their homeland, as he pointed to the difficult circumstances faced by both Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Earlier in the day, the Lebanese army stopped 1,200 Syrian refugees this week aiming to turn them back to their home country after they attempted to illegally cross from Lebanon into Syria.
"As part of the fight against human trafficking and the illegal crossing of land borders, Lebanese army units intercepted 1,200 Syrians trying to illegally cross the Lebanese-Syrian border on different days this week," the Lebanese army said.