Based on the findings of participatory protection research that Oxfam undertook with refugees in Lebanon between late 2016 and early 2017, this paper explores refugees’ own definitions and conceptions of safety, and highlights refugee perspectives on how the international community and the Government of Lebanon can help them to obtain the safety they are looking for in the present and in the future.
Syrian refugees and Palestine refugees from Syria have fled their homes in search of safety. But Oxfam’s 2017 research revealed that most people interviewed do not consider that they have found complete safety and protection in Lebanon. Refugees’ views on what constitutes ‘safety’ are individual and subjective. This paper argues that the international community and host governments should not make decisions for refugees about what or where is ‘safe’, but instead should support refugees to find safety in the present, and determine their futures for themselves.