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Lebanon News

UNHCR cuts 45,000 refugees: Interior minister

In June, the Interior Ministry decreed that Syrian refugees who travel back to their country would have their refugee status revoked. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk announced in comments Monday that the U.N. refugee agency has scraped 45,000 Syrian refugees from its rosters after they violated the guidelines put forth by the Lebanese state.

Machnouk told Al-Mustaqbal daily that 45,000 Syrians had their refugee status revoked after traveling to Syria and heading back to Lebanon. In June, the Interior Ministry decreed that Syrian refugees who travel back to their country would have their refugee status revoked would no longer receive aid from the UNHCR and would be treated as regular Syrian visitors.

Machnouk added that he would be holding talks with UNHCR officials to follow up on the implementation of the Interior Ministry’s decisions that the international agency has been tasked with implementing in its capacity as the authority granting and revoking refugee status for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

The ambiguities surrounding Lebanon’s changing policy toward Syrian refugees are being tackled at the negotiating table, the UNHCR said Sunday, after the foreign minister called for making the registration of refugees the prerogative of the government.

“We are working on issues pertaining to access with the Social Affairs and Interior ministries,” UNHCR spokesperson Dana Sleiman said.

Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said Friday that Lebanon must start imposing its own conditions and regulations regarding the entry and registration of Syrians fleeing the violence in their country.

 

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