Syrian refugees in Lebanon are cut off from visiting hospitals and treatment because of “the fear of deportation when crossing checkpoints to reach health facilities,” according to humanitarian and human rights organizations.
It is difficult to obtain medical care for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, according to the “Doctors Without Borders” report. This is based on reports of forced deportation practices and restrictions on freedom of movement. Doctors Without Borders reported that “many refugees no longer dare to leave their homes, even to obtain necessary medical care.”
Over the past two weeks, MSF teams have noticed that many patients’ appointments in their clinics have not been kept. Aides reported that “many patients fear deportation when crossing checkpoints to reach health facilities and hospitals.”
Since the beginning of the year, the Lebanese government has been strict in confronting the Syrian refugees in the country. According to aid organizations, around 1,500 Syrians have been arrested and more than 700 deported back to Syria since the beginning of the year.
Reports by organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch point to curfews and obstacles in trying to rent accommodation, with the aim of pushing Syrians to return. Politicians and the media also stress their tone.
However, Lebanese Information Minister Ziad al-Makari said that there is no random deportation of Syrians from Lebanon. But those who frequent illegally between Syria and Lebanon, where they make up the majority of refugees in Lebanon, should certainly be deported, according to Makari’s statement to the German Press Agency. “They are here only because of the money, and because of the many free services they receive here, such as health care and education,” the minister said.
At the beginning of May, a senior aid source said that more than 450 Syrians had been arrested in more than 60 Lebanese army raids or at checkpoints in April. More than 130 of them have been deported.
Lebanese security sources also told Reuters that the raids were targeting Syrians who do not have valid residency papers, adding that their deportation is happening because there are no places in Lebanese prisons to accommodate them. The Minister of Social Affairs in the caretaker government had earlier called on the security services to tighten restrictions on those who do not hold valid residency papers, but he said that their return to their country would be “voluntary”.
A.K/ (DPA, Reuters)