Change and Reform warns against naturalization of refugees


kanaan fpmThe Change and Reform bloc, which is headed by MP Michel Aoun  warned on Tuesday of attempts to naturalize Syrian and Palestinian refugees residing in Lebanon, while highlighting the burden they are imposing on the country.

Following the bloc’s weekly meeting MP Ibrahim Kanaan  told reporters : “We remind the international community of its obligations towards providing the refugees with aid, but hope that it will not reach a point that would lead to their naturalization.”

He added that Syrian refugees should only be “accommodated in a manner that would eventually allow them to return to their homeland.”

“The main goal of services granted to them should be their return to Syria,” stated the MP.

Lebanon is host to more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees , representing around a third of the country’s total population. The massive influx since the start of the Syria crisis in March 2011 has seen refugees settle in every corner of the country, putting a huge strain on stretched services and infrastructure.

Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil had echoed the Change and Reform bloc’s warnings in April, noting: “There is a real plan to keep displaced Syrians in Lebanon, which we should confront, as they should not be turned into permanent refugees.”

“The international community is responsible for the suffering of the Syrian children because it failed to resolve their country’s crisis,” he stressed