Published June 8th, 2018 – 10:00 GMT via SyndiGate.info
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said on Thursday he will take action against the United Nations’ refugee agency UNHCR, accusing it of “intimidating” Syrian refugees who want to return.
Bassil said the Lebanese government would escalate “procedures” against the humanitarian agency starting from Friday, according to a speech on his Twitter page, without detailing the measures.
“Our procedures against UNHCR begin tomorrow, and they will escalate to the maximum extent that sovereign Lebanon can achieve toward an organization which acts against (Lebanon’s) policy of preventing naturalization and returning the displaced to their homeland,” said Bassil, who is caretake minister while Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is yet to form a government since 6 May elections.
As Syrian regime forces and allies retake more territory, Lebanon’s president and other politicians have called for refugees to go back to “secure areas” before a deal is reached to end the war.
The UNHCR has repeatedly warned the situation inside Syria is too insecure for returns, yet Lebanon insists refugees are voluntarily returning.
Last week, the head of Lebanon’s general security agency, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, said Lebanon was working with Damascus for the return of thousands of refugees who want to go back to Syria.