Syrian women and children in a refugee camp in Bar Elias in the Bekaa plain, Lebanon

The refugee crisis More than one in every five people living in the country is a refugee

At the end of June 2020, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, had officially registered nearly 900,000 refugees from Syria staying in Lebanon. Their living conditions are poor: some 70 per cent of the refugees are living in poverty. More than one third of Syrian refugee children under the age of 14 are not in school and child labour is widespread.

Most Syrian refugees arrive in northern Lebanon, a region where the social situation is already difficult. The prosperity gap in Lebanon is huge. Consequently, there is a risk of distributional conflicts arising between the refugees and local people..

The Bourj el-Barajneh camp for Palestinian refugees in the Lebanese capital Beirut

The Bourj el-Barajneh camp for Palestinian refugees in the Lebanese capital Beirut

The Bourj el-Barajneh camp for Palestinian refugees in the Lebanese capital Beirut

The Lebanese government is seeking to significantly restrict the number of refugees coming into the country. To this end, it has introduced more stringent border controls and now requires entry visas. Lebanon is not a party to the Geneva Refugee Convention of 1951. This means that Syrian refugees can register in Lebanon but gain no legal benefits from doing so. For example, they do not receive work permits.