Earlier this month the UNHCR told the Lebanese Foreign Ministry that it hopes they will act quickly to reverse the decision to allow Syrians to have refugee status.
Syrian refugees now account for more than a quarter of the population of Lebanon – around 1.6 million are registered with the United Nations and there are many more who are not registered.
The Lebanese government wants the refugees to start going home; they feel the refugees should “go home” before a final political solution to the 7-year-old war is found. This is something the Lebanese government has wanted for a long time however, the United Nations says it is not yet safe for them to return.
Back in Lebanon the Foreign Ministry has accused the UNHCR of intimidating refugees into staying in Lebanon. By asking them if they were aware of the situation in Syria and problems they might face upon their return.
The refugees know what is going on back home because of the news they receive from those still living in war-torn Syria. The fact is, the fighting has escalated in a number of areas in the past few months. The UNHCR spokesperson also stated that, “Given the overall situation, we do not believe conditions are conducive for Syrians to return.”
While this debate continues to go around in circles Heart for Lebanon is laser-focused on building deep relationships and spiritual roots in the refugees who have come to faith while being in Lebanon. Helping them to develop leadership skills so that, when the opportunity presents itself to go back home to Syria, they will be ready. We are praying for a group of people who’s lifestyle will be irresistible to the broken people they encounter when they do return.
This process all starts with trust, which is built by helping them sustain their life in Lebanon as refugees. We hope you don’t think that your prayers and financial support end with Humanitarian Aid or with our Children at Risk initiative. Those are just the starting points. Your prayers and financial investments are rebuilding personal lives, tent communities, and will someday rebuild communities in Syria. Who knows where it will go from there?!