Considerable analysis has been undertaken to date on the challenges and impacts on and of Syrian refugees in Lebanon – including by Oxfam – but the bulk of this analysis is seen through the lens of the wider Syria crisis and often fails to take into consideration Lebanon itself as a country in crisis or use a wider inequality and poverty lens. This discussion paper aims instead to bring together the key areas of displacement – including pre-existing refugees – economics, poverty and governance in Lebanon and from a Lebanon perspective, highlight some of the challenges that the country and the people in its territory are confronted with.
In doing so, the paper deliberately raises difficult realities for populations within Lebanon, reflecting very real policy and programme challenges drawn from Oxfam’s programmes, partnerships and community consultations over the past year as it attempts to reconcile its response to poverty with a humanitarian response to displacement, using a comprehensive rights-based approach relevant to all segments of the population. Many of these realities echo global concerns around asylum, migration and host community fears, but they also point to the need for a fundamental shift in national and international engagement in Lebanon.
The paper also outlines policy propositions rooted in national and international rights frameworks as a basis for dialogue – which, if used to build a more comprehensive framework for engagement in Lebanon, could help to re-think approaches to long-term solutions for Lebanon as a whole, and for the displaced populations living there.