Limited Legal Status for Refugees from Syria in Lebanon
Forced Migration Review (FMR)
Migration, Mobility and Circulation
Refugees, Human Rights & Protection
Having limited legal status has direct negative consequences for Syrian refugees’ access to protection and assistance during their stay in Lebanon. Limited legal status also increases the risks of abuse and exploitation. Lebanon is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, hence the limited legal protection for refugees and asylum seekers in Lebanon, although it is bound by the customary law principle of non-refoulement and by the obligations of the human rights treaties which it has signed and which are incorporated into its Constitution. International standards under these obligations recommend, at a minimum, the adoption of temporary protection measures to ensure the safe admission of refugees, to protect them against refoulement and to respect their basic human rights.
Although UNHCR has been permitted by the Lebanese government to register refugees, the protection offered by such registration remains limited; being registered with
UNHCR in Lebanon can provide some legal protection and is important for access to services but it does not grant refugees the right to seek asylum, have legal stay or
refugee status. This leaves refugees in a challenging situation.