UN not pursuing “local integration” for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

NEW YORK, May 20 (KUNA) — The UN has not been pursuing local integration as a solution for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, said the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman.
At UN Headquarters, Ban’s spokesman Stephan Dujarric told reporters that Ban is mindful of the fact that if and how to provide citizenship to non-nationals is in all states subject to national policies and laws.
The Spokesman said that the focus of the report and the scope of its recommendations are global.
“The report, which was prepared for the 19 September high-level meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants, makes no mention of any specific country and seeks primarily to promote more collective action and better responsibility sharing by Member States to address large movements of refugees and migrants,” Dujarric added.
The spokesman affirmed that the report does address the challenge of countries hosting refugees for lengthy periods and calls for measures to better support host communities, promote social inclusion and combat discrimination.
“The report does not advocate, in any specific cases, for naturalization or granting of citizenship for refugees,” he said.
Dujarric told reporters that the relevant wording of the report reads “In situations in which conditions are not conducive to return, refugees require a status in receiving States to allow them to re-establish their lives and plan for their future.
Receiving states should provide a legal status and examine where, when and how to afford the opportunity to refugees to become naturalized citizens,” Dujarric added.
Further, Ban’s spokesman said that this is in line with article 34 of the 1951 Refugee Convention.
As highlighted by the Secretary General during his recent visit, the UN’s position remains that the two options pursued are the return of refugees to Syria when conditions are conducive or their resettlement in a third country.
The preferred solution of refugees is to return to their country, when conditions allow.
Moreover, Dujarric said that the UN will support their return to Syria and their reintegration in their country of origin.
In the meantime, the UN Refugees Agency (UNHCR) is securing resettlement options for the most vulnerable refugees outside Lebanon and working on other pathways to allow Syrian refugees to go to third countries.
Earlier, the Lebanese Foreign Ministry called in Sigrid Kaag, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL) to explain the claims that UN Secretary General called for naturalization of refugees and migrants in host countries, including Lebanon.
Sigrid Kaag will be meeting Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Gibran Bassil tomorrow, Friday to discuss the recent report released by Ban Ki-moon. (end) mao.mb

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