The 17th session of the Doha Forum entitled “Development, Stability and Refugee Crisis” continued its work sessions for the second day in a row, with a plenary session convening on the impact of refugee on host countries, presided over by MP Mohammed al-Hajjar.

Amongst the keynote Speakers at the session has been National News Agency (NNA) Director Laure Sleiman Saab, who gave an elaborate presentation on Lebanon’s experience and model in hosting refugees.

The session took place in the presence of Qatari Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Bin Hamad Al Marri, MP Alan Aoun and scores of Ambassadors and concerned dignitaries.

Opening up the plenary session, MP Mohammed al-Hajjar highlighted the brunt of the refugee crisis on world countries and Lebanon in particular, saying the huge influx of Syrian refugees in Lebanon is tantamount to a ‘time bomb’ that will explode unless adequate support is ensured for Lebanon to mitigate refugee consequences.

“Figures show one million Syrian refugees registered by the UN’s refugee agency, in addition to another half a million unregistered… and half a million Palestinians, Iraqis and other nationalities,” MP Hajjar said.

The Lawmaker noted that “The number of refugees in Lebanon is greater than the number of Syrians who have sought asylum in Europe as a whole.”

NNA Director Saab deemed the Syrian displacement ordeal “a humanitarian one”, saying the huge influx of Syrian refugees in Lebanon imperils its demography, unity and integrity of its lands.

“The repercussions of the Syrian displacement entail political, economic, social, security and demographic dimensions,” Saab said, noting that the rate of the Syrian displacement to Lebanon is considered the highest in the world.

Sleiman recapped in her delivered word the brunt of the growing and mounting number of Syrian refugees and workers in Lebanon, notably the evident burden left on the Lebanese economy, with an unprecedented increase in the rate of unemployment (reaching 25% amongst population and 32% among young people).

Sleiman also pointed out that the country’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP) growth declined by 2.9% per annum as a result of the Syrian refugee predicament.

The NNA Director also indicated that one of the most serious repercussions of the Syrian displacement on Lebanon has been at the political and security dimensions, with the rate of crimes, murders, thefts, kidnappings and rape augmented.

Saab also urged the international community to seek a swift political solution to the long simmering Syrian ordeal. She also solicited international and Arab support to Lebanon to enable it to bear the negative impact and repercussions of the mounting number of Syrian refugees.

Saab considered that the solution lies in the return of Syrian refugees to safe areas in Syria under the supervision of the United Nations and to provide international assistance to them on their land, while preserving their Syrian national Syrian identity.

Source: National News Agency