With the Syrian crisis in its fourth year, tensions between Lebanese host communities and refugees are high. After years of strain on employment, social services and resources, and the continued deterioration of the national economic situation due to falling trade and foreign investment, Lebanon and the Lebanese face unprecedented challenges managing the effects of the crisis. Furthermore, the economic hardships also erode the relationship between the Government of Lebanon and its constituents, as all confidence in the government’s ability to provide services collapses.
Since 2011, Lebanon has seen a huge influx of refugees fleeing the violence in Syria and currently hosts the biggest number of Syrian refugees in the world. Faced with waves of violence, insecurity and instability, Lebanese communities have found ways of adapting and developed coping mechanisms to deal with worsening conditions. This adaptability has often been called ‘resilience’.
The population shift from Syria, as a result of the Syrian Crisis, is causing enormous pressure on host communities and exacerbating instability factors. In an in-depth assessments in 12 vulnerable municipalities in Lebanon, Mercy Corps found that 71% of the surveyed host community indicated that conditions have worsened in their municipalities. As such, with socio-economic conditions in the country continue to decline and political instability rises, it is projected that there will be an increased risk of intolerance and withdrawal of host community assistance to refugees.
The influence of terrorist groups operating on the Lebanese-Syrian border, Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria, and the increasing sense of humiliation and powerlessness amongst Sunnis since Hezbollah’s takeover of west Beirut in 2008 is breeding concern about the radicalization of Lebanon’s Sunni community. The purpose of this case study is to identify drivers of radicalization of Sunnis in Akkar, particularly in Halba and its surrounding areas, and to examine any motivations to contest the Lebanese state.
REACH undertook an assessment of host community needs in Akkar Governorate, one of Lebanon’s most underdeveloped regions. With approximately one-third of the population of Akkar consisting of refugees, there has been a need to understand the pressures caused by large concentrations of displaced persons in one of Lebanon’s poorest regions. The following paper aims to provide information on the challenges this community faces and potential interventions that might support them. Results indicate that livelihoods in Akkar have been affected greatly.
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 report focuses on Save the Children’s Casual Labour Initiative (CLI) and its impact on intercommunity social cohesion. It aims to 1) evaluate the CLI project design and implementation, assess its impact on intercommunity perceptions and 2) assess social cohesion in Akkar and the Bekaa, in the locations that benefited from the CLI. It examines an array of socio-political indicators of emerging conflict, including; threat perceptions, contact quantity and quality, readiness for violence) and identified locations of potential concern (mapping).
This report presents a brief analysis of the social stability context in the Qazas of Nabatieh and Bint Jbeil in the Nabatieh governorate, a sparsely populated religiously and politically homogenous area which hosts a small number of Syrian refugees. The highly securitized border area is economically dependent on migrants’ remittances and agriculture, with a few small industries. The area is largely dominated by the strong presence and popularity of a limited number of actors, namely Hezbollah and the Amal movement and the security apparatuses, with a few secular and nationalistic parties.
In April 2013, Mercy Corps undertook a country-wide assessment to examine the interplay between economic fragility and societal stability in Lebanon. The purpose was to identify the pathways through which increased economic strain could lead to greater instability and violence. The guiding hypothesis was that, increased economic security would diffuse or at least neutralize social tensions between the Lebanese and the Syrian refugees.
This paper presents the findings from a case study research comparing the impact on social cohesion of segregated and mixed schooling systems of Lebanese and Syrian refugee students. Based on qualitative research with students, their families and teachers, the paper argues that perceptions and relationships between students in mixed classes improve over time. Though this change bears little impact on relationships beyond the school or the attitudes and relationships of family and community members, it does equip students with the ability to counter prevailing prejudice.