Lebanon's refugees--time for a new deal?
The massive population of refugees in Lebanon today are largely watching the current protests from the sidelines. Last week, Dr Tamirace Fakhoury spoke to R4T about what brought people to Lebanon's streets in the first place. This week she dives deeper, and explains what lies ahead--if a government restructure goes forward, and if it does not.
Once again, Dr Fakhoury insists that the 'refugee crisis' be read across a few different 'timelines.' The 'time of crisis' that allows the government to use refugees as scapegoats, she says, glosses over many nuances and policy phases. Instead, she reads three phases of government policy toward Syrian refugees, starting from an open borders policy to one of acute securitization followed by politicians’ call for prompt refugee return despite the ongoing conflict.
The immediate future for refugees in Lebanon does not only depend on the trajectory for Syria, Fakhoury explains, but also on how successful protesters are in pressing for rights-based policies. If the hoped-for changes are to be seen, then refugees--like citizens--will be treated and responded to according to actual rather than imagined circumstances.