Š.Füle: EU is making difference for refugees in Lebanon
Beirut (6th March) – "Only after meeting people directly affected by the bloodshed in Syria you realise the enormous scope of the human suffering and the extent of the refugee crisis" Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle said after talking to Syrian, Palestinian and Iraqi refugees in the UNHCR registration centre and UNRWA headquarters in Beirut. The European Union is the biggest donor for both organisations and its activities in Lebanon, which is hosting the highest number of people fleeing the violence in the neighbouring Syria.
The UNHCR registration centre in Beirut is one of four in the country and registers around 2000 refugees daily. Commissioner Füle spoke there to the parents of 12 year old Mustafa from Idlib. “After you had to flee Syria and leave everything you had there behind, we are determined to help you to live a life that at least resembles the one you lead in Syria, to ensure that the family can still perform its tasks and that you are informed about your rights and the possibilities to get support or education for your children" he told them noting that he had just announced an additional €30 million of funding from the European Commission for Syrian refugees and their host communities in Lebanon. "There were a lot of pledges of assistance for refugees and countries carrying the biggest burden of hosting them, and the EU is the one that is delivering on its promises" Commissioner Füle said in the conversation with the family of young Mustafa. Turning to the host country he stressed: “If the situation in Syria does not change and the conflict continues Lebanon will not be able to cope with its consequences anymore. That is why more assistance from the international partners is needed for this country.”
Commissioner Füle then visited the headquarters of UNRWA in Beirut where he met with the members of a family whose house in the refugee camp Burj Barajneh at the outskirts of Beirut was one of several dozen renovated after Commissioner´s last visit there. “This is one concrete example of how the assistance from European Union can make a difference although I am aware that it is just not enough and it does not deal with the root causes of the problems of the Palestinian people in the refugee camps in Lebanon and elsewhere,“ Commissioner Füle stressed.
The house of the family was renovated as a result of the previous visit of the Commissioner in the Burj Baranjeh camp in October 2011 when he was appalled by the conditions this family was living in. The visit speeded up the implementation of the projects to improve housing for Palestinian families in the camp. Lebanon is at present hosting approximately 31 500 Palestinian refugees from Syria, in addition to up to 280 000 living on its territory since 1948 in 12 specially designated camps. Funding for on-going EU projects to help them currently amounts to €67 million.
|Mustafa (left) and his family in the UNHCR registration centre Beirut.|
|Shelter of the Palestinian family in camp Burj Barajneh in October 2011 and now.|
|With Iraqi refugee from Syria in UNHCR centre Beirut.|
|With Palestinian refugees in UNRWA headquarters Beirut.|