Syrian refugees in Lebanon. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The failure of the Lebanese government to draft a unified and comprehensive policy for dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis is leading to increased tension between international organizations working with the displaced, a conference on the situation heard Monday.One of the issues highlighted by UNHCR regarded Refugee Status Determination – the process the body or national governments use to determine whether a person meets classification for seeking international protection as a refugee under international, regional or national law.Because the Lebanese government did not assess cases individually, UNHCR applied its mass influx policy based on the prima facie status identification – a group determination of refugee status."Since Lebanon didn't have a refugee policy, UNHCR declared prima facie for Syrians here," the UNHCR representative said.But she added that the local integration and long-term settling of Syrian refugees is not and never was UNHCR's policy.Due to the government's controversial decision in 2015 to stop allowing UNHCR to register new refugees outside extreme – but undefined – humanitarian circumstances, the actual number of refugees in Lebanon is undetermined.
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