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Conflict Incident Report
Curfew restrictions on Syrian refugees in Arsal
In the municipality of Arsal curfew restrictions have been imposed on Syrian refugees, from 7 pm to 9 am and from 1 pm to 3 pm since the 1st of February.
The increasing numbers of Syrian refugees in Arsal has created tensions with local Lebanese residents of the border village. On 12 January 2014 Syrians sheltering in Arsal woke up to read a statement calling for their eviction. The eviction notice said Syrians have forty-eight hours to return to where they came from. The municipality of Arsal dismissed the eviction threat and called it the work of agents provocateurs. Following the last wave of Syrian refugees fleeing Yabrud to Arsal the municipality issued a curfew for Syrians. They are now not allowed on the streets from seven in the evening until nine nine in the morning and again from one until three in the afternoon. (...)
Lebanese municipalities have increasingly imposed curfews on Syrian refugees. The curfews restrict refugees’ movements and contribute to a climate of discriminatory and retaliatory practices against them. Human Rights Watch has identified at least 45 municipalities across the country that have imposed such curfews.
Some of the curfews were among numerous retaliatory measures directed at Syrians following the August 2014 fighting in Arsal, Lebanon between the Lebanese army and extremist groups operating out of Syria and the execution of at least three Lebanese soldiers abducted by the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra. Such curfews violate international human rights law and appear to be illegal under Lebanese law. Municipal police enforce many of the curfews but Human Rights Watch also received information about the creation of local vigilante groups to enforce curfews, raising concerns about abuses.
“The authorities have presented no evidence that curfews for Syrian refugees are necessary for public order or security in Lebanon,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director. “These curfews are just contributing to an increasingly hostile environment for Syrian refugees in the country.”