BEIRUT: Maronite bishops Wednesday voiced concern over the rising number of Syrian and Palestinian refugees coming to Lebanon, a statement from the bishops said.
“The bishops appreciate the humanitarian services available for the displaced from Syria to Lebanon, byt are concerned that their number is surging day after day, including Palestinians,” read the statement, issued following the bishop’s weekly meeting.
More than 180,000 Syrians have fled to Lebanon since bloody clashes in their country broke out in March 2011, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ most recent figures.
Additional 13,000 Palestinian refugees have also fled camps in Syria, seeking shelter in Lebanon.
The bishops called on the Lebanese government to take necessary measures to limit the repercussions of the refugees’ influx to the country.
“The humanitarian aspect of the case should come in line with necessary measures by the state so that hosting refugees does not lead to social, political and security dangers Lebanon cannot handle,” said the statement.
Separately, the bishops reiterated the call for the formation of a new Cabinet to oversee the coming 2013 parliamentary elections, a statement from the bishops said.
“An agreement is necessary to form a new government capable of performing national duties, achieving economic stability, holding the elections, and keeping Lebanon away from regional conflicts,” said the bishops’ statement.
The bishops also reiterated their rejection of the 1960 electoral law, based on a winner-takes-all system, and expressed hope a new electoral law would be reached.
“We hope that the parliamentary electoral subcommittee will reach an agreement over a fair electoral law,” said the bishops.
However, they said that the parliament should resume sessions.
The Lebanese have been trying to reach an agreement over a new draft law for the coming elections after lawmakers resumed the meetings of the subcommittee discussing electoral proposals earlier this week.
Calls for a new Cabinet were initially launched by the March 14-led opposition following the Oct. 19 assassination of a top security official who headed the police Information branch, Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan.
The opposition, which blames the Cabinet for providing a political cover to the crime, declared boycotting the government and all parliamentary activity it takes part in following the killing and called for the formation of a new Cabinet to oversee the coming elections.