Governance and politics

Lebanon’s Eviction of Syrian Refugees and the Threat of de facto Refoulement

Middle East
Maastricht School of Management

Displacements directly pressure refugees to leave Lebanon by aggravating their marginalization. This is done by forcing them to incur debts to finance their relocation, by undermining income-generating strategies and disrupting education, and by undercutting informal protection mechanisms. Evictions also subject refugees to permanent limbo. The resultant insecurity and uncertainty in terms of shelter are of such an existential nature that they severely undermine refugees’ survival options in Lebanon. This posits an implicit incentive for return to Syria. The “voluntary” nature of refugee return is thus largely illusory when evictions are omnipresent and deliberately irregular, arbitrary, and unaccountable, and when post-eviction relocation is increasingly barred.

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