Weekly News Report: August 17-24

Weekly News Report: August 17-24

التقارير الإخبارية الأسبوعية 2022

Articles and views shared in the Weekly News Report do not necessarily represent ARM’s views. Information in these articles has not been fact-checked by ARM and may contain some errors. ARM is simply compiling all news relevant to migrant communities to inform our advocacy efforts and to facilitate the work of organizations that cater to migrant communities.

Kenyan Activist NM is Finally Recognized as a Refugee But She is Still Detained by the GS [here]

The UNHCR granted NM refugee status, however, NM is still detained at the General Security Detention Center.

It is unclear why the GS is still keeping NM detained, where she was subjected to torture and physical violence. NM has been in prison for 4 months, and with each passing day, she remains arbitrarily detained and mistreated.

More information and updates will be shared on our social media outlets as they become publicly available.

Tripoli Municipality Continues to Discriminate Against Migrant and Syrian Workers [here]

The municipality of Tripoli is still carrying out its so-called “campaign to promote tourism and urban development in Tripoli,” which entails verbal warnings to migrant and Syrian cart vendors.

The campaign had been going for a few weeks prior, during which Annahar claimed in an article that non-Lebanese cart vendors were affecting Lebanese labor, and attached a photo of El Tal square supposedly containing only “4 Lebanese cart-vendors.” Annahar also claimed that the square used to be “crowded, blocking pedestrians.”

Political Dispute Over Deportation of Syrian Refugees Following the Minister of the Displaced Visit to Syria [here] [here] [here] [here] و [here]

Issam Charafeddine, Lebanese Minister of the Displaced, has returned from his visit to Syria, during which he discussed the plan to deport 15,000 Syrian refugees. Currently, he is blaming Prime Minister Najib Mikati for “obstructing” the plan.

In an interview with Al Jadeed, Charafeddine criticized Mikati for his unresponsiveness to meetings to discuss the plan and the visit. According to Liban News, Charafeddine claimed that Mikati only responds in favor of “donor countries, even at the expense of the Lebanese.”

Furthermore, the news regarding the visit was not without confusing numbers, misinformation, and callbacks to previous political disputes.

For example, the aforementioned report from Liban News contained a screenshot from a study supposedly by the Ministry of Foriegn Affairs and the UNDP estimating the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon’s economy at $46.5 billion.

This is likely what officials use as a reference to exaggerate the cost, like when Hector Hajjar’s demanded $30 billion in compensation for “the cost of hosting Syrians in Lebanon.”

Upon further investigation, the screenshot can be traced back to a tweet by former minister Nassif Hitti. The tweet was in response to leader of the Progressive Socialist Party Walid Joumblat, who asked Hitti to “cross-check his numbers.” 

The study does not seem to hold much credibility. First, the tweet does not point to any proper citations of this so-called study, neither does the ministry’s nor the UNDP’s websites.

Second, the screenshot explicitly states that the study is “only an academic estimate and is intended for intellectual debate and does not represent an official position.” Despite that, Hitti still presents these estimates as a statement of fact. Third, the screenshot contains a major error in the addition of total costs, resulting in a false number 10 times higher than $46.5 billion.

As for misinformation, Charafeddine insisted on Syria being “safe for return,” despite the reports that prove otherwise. Likewise, Syrian minister of Local Administration and Environment Hussein Makhlouf said that amnesty decrees issued by Bashar Al Assad “include all Syrians.”

Such claims are nothing short of deceptive, especially when compared to news about Syrians who were arrested after they entered Syria.

Lastly, Syria TV released an article analyzing the plan, the Lebanese and Syrian government’s intentions and commitment, and its effect on Syrians.

General Security Publishes List of Arrests, Entry/Exit, Work Visas disaggregated by nationality from Mid-June to Mid-July [here]

The General Security Office (GSO) published a breakdown of arrests, entry/exit, and work visas between mid-June and mid-July in the new issue of the GS journal released on August 3rd. Highlights included the following:

  • Nearly 122 migrants and refugees were arrested and interrogated;
  • 283 migrants and refugees were released from detention after interrogation;
  • Around 2826 work visas were granted to migrant workers mostly to Ethiopians, Kenyans and Sierra Leoneans. There is no information on how many of these work permits were granted to newcomers.
  • 392,526 foreigners and migrants entered Lebanon compared to 328,891 who left in the said time period.
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