World Bulletin / News Desk
Amnesty International has accused the Lebanese authorities of breaching international law by barring Palestinians fleeing the conflict in Syria, including pregnant women and children, from entering the country.
The human rights organization on Tuesday cited the case of a mother and new-born baby being prevented from joining their family in Lebanon as an example of refugees being barred from entering the country under tightened controls at the Lebanese-Syrian border.
Sherif Elsayed-Ali, head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights at AI, said: “The Lebanese authorities have displayed a chilling disregard for the rights of refugees who are fleeing a bloody conflict."
“Absolutely no-one seeking refuge from a conflict should be denied entry; by doing so Lebanon is flouting its obligations under international law.”
Since May, Palestinians fleeing Syria have had to either pass through Lebanon or meet temporary residence conditions under the new rules, said Amnesty, despite the fact such stipulations did not apply to Syrians.
Amnesty claimed it had evidence of efforts to deny Palestinian refugees from Syria entry into Lebanon altogether, regardless of whether they meet the new entry conditions.
The human rights body said it had seen a document, apparently from the Lebanese security services, instructing airlines not to transport Palestinian refugees from Syria to Lebanon, regardless of their travel documents.
Elsayed-Ali added: “The Lebanese authorities must immediately end the blatantly discriminatory policies towards Palestinian refugees arriving from Syria."
"While the influx of refugees has placed an immense strain on Lebanon’s resources, there is no excuse for abandoning Palestinian refugees who are seeking safety in Lebanon.”
Palestinian refugees from Syria have also faced restrictions on entering other countries neighboring Syria, Amnesty said, including Turkey.
A Turkish refugee official, who declined to be named, denied Palestinians were treated differently to Syrian nationals.
A spokeswoman for the Lebanese embassy in Ankara declined to comment on Amnesty's allegations.
A total of 500,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria were registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency at the beginning of the civil war in March 2011.
The agency reported that a further 40,000 Palestinians had registered since the start of the conflict, and about 80,000 Palestinians were fleeing to Lebanon.
Syria has been gripped by near-constant fighting since the Assad regime launched a violent crackdown in response to anti-government protests.
The United Nations stopped counting deaths in July 2013, when the figure stood at 100,000.
2 killed in Beirut refugee camp gunfight
Two people were killed and several injured on Monday in an exchange of fire that erupted near a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut.
While the reasons for the gunfight remain unknown, it apparently began on a small scale before escalating into an exchange of fire between two rival groups.
Lebanon's official news agency reported that a gunfight had erupted between two militants groups near southern Beirut's Shatila refugee camp.
One eyewitness told Anadolu Agency that calm had returned to the area – which is reportedly frequented by militants and drug dealers – following the arrival of the Lebanese army.Last Mod: 01 Temmuz 2014, 09:29