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School-age Syrian refugees victims of ‘bullying’
Syrian refugees children pose for a photo at a makeshift shelter in the southern city of Sidon, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
Syrian refugees children pose for a photo at a makeshift shelter in the southern city of Sidon, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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BEIRUT: School-age refugees from Syria are facing “bullying” in Lebanon, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, which said Friday it was now aiding just over 170,000 people.

In its report for December, the UNHCR announced a total of 170,637 Syrians “recorded” by the agency, of whom 126,724 were registered and 43,913 were scheduled to be registered.

Thousands of other Syrians have also relocated to Lebanon as a result of the war in Syria, but are living off savings or otherwise avoiding refugee status.

The UNHCR said it registered more than 24,000 refugees in December, which coincided with the Lebanese government’s launch of a Refugee Response Plan, totaling $178 million.

Also this month, the UNHCR and partner agencies launched a birth registration awareness campaign, to alert parents of the need to register their children at birth. Over 550 Syrian babies have been born since the outset of the 21-month crisis, it said, adding awareness efforts would continue next year.

The report said that over 10,000 refugee children were attending public schools, but added that “of concern this month were reports of Syrian children being bullied at school.”

The UNHCR, its partners and the Education Ministry will work to identify cases of bullying, so that they can be referred to the authorities, the UNHCR said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 29, 2012, on page 2.
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