Responding to an official communication obtained by Amnesty International that the Lebanese authorities forcibly deported almost 2,500 Syrian refugees back to Syria in the past three months, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf, said:
“We urge the Lebanese authorities to stop these deportations as a matter of urgency, and the Higher Defense Council to cancel its related decision.
“As long as independent monitoring bodies are not allowed access to Syria - including the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria – in order to assess the security situation for the safe return of refugees, there is no way of determining whether returnees would be at real risk of serious human rights violations once back in Syria.
“Such access and monitoring mechanism inside Syria would be a first step in setting the process for returns. In the meantime, while risks upon return cannot be determined, any attempts to forcibly return refugees is a clear violation of Lebanon’s non-refoulement obligations.