Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS)

Lebanon: 8 Syrians seeking refuge in Lebanon risk refoulement

Lebanon: 8 Syrians seeking refuge in Lebanon risk
refoulement

30 May 2011

In recent weeks, Lebanon witnessed the arrival of Syrian
citizens escaping escalating violence in Syria. A large number of individuals
living close to the Lebanese border (mainly from the Syrian city of Tal Kalakh)
have fled into Lebanon, finding shelter in the country with relatives, host
families and even in schools.

Estimations of Friday 20 May state that some 4000 people –
including men, women and children – may have moved from Syria into northern
Lebanon. Sources have informed Alkarama that more than half of the population
of Tal Kalakh has crossed over into Lebanon, an indication of the seriousness
of the situation in Syria, where the state-led repression intensifies.

We are informed however that those who have crossed over are
being told they should not change location, as many do not have any identity or
travel documents, having fled too quickly. Some also crossed into Lebanon via
informal checkpoints. There are reports that Syrian refugees have also been
warned against speaking to the media or human rights organization.

We are concerned with this situation, as we believe refugees
may be at risk of being forced back to Syria. Lebanon is obliged to protect
these individuals, as stated in art.3 of the Convention against Torture (CAT),
which Lebanon must respect: "No State Party shall expel, return
("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are
substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected
to torture". We call on the Lebanese authorities to respect their
international engagements and ensure the refugees are not forced to return to
Syria, and ensure their rights are respected

For example, Alkarama has informed the Un Special Rapporteur
on Torture that a group of seven people was arrested after they had crossed the
border on 16 May 2011. They were handed over to General Security, the Lebanese
security agency responsible for foreigners, on 18 May 2011. They have been
detained at Koubba prison since 23 May, accused of entering Lebanon
\’illegally\’, and we fear they may be sent back to Syria against their will
where they are at risk of torture. We are informed that two more people were
wounded crossing the border from Syria and sought medical help in Lebanon on
Thursday 19 May, at the Koubba Governmental hospital, where they were placed
under the surveillance of the Lebanese General Security until they overcame
their injuries. They were then sent to Koubba prison on 30 May 2011. These
individuals do not appear to have committed any recognizable crime in Syria
that would justify their detention, but rather had been fleeing violence and
persecution in their own country. They should be immediately charged or
released.

Here are the names of the above-mentioned detainees:

1. Shehade Al Youssef, ÔåÇÏÉ
ÇáíæÓÝ
,

2. Ahmed Al Youssef, ÃÍãÏ
ÇáíæÓÝ
, aged 20

3. Khaled Al Youssef, ÎÇáÏ
ÇáíæÓÝ
, aged 45

4. Mohamed Al Youssef, ãÍãÏ
ÇáíæÓÝ
,

5. Shadi Al Ali, ÔÇÏí ÇáÚáí, aged 20

6. Mohamed Al Ali, ãÍãÏ
ÇáÚÇáí
, aged 19

7. Ahmad Sulayman, ÃÍãÏ
ÓáíãÇä

8. Mostafa Nasser Ayash, ãÕØÝì
äÇÕÑ ÚíÇÔ

9. Alaa Hazem Al Basha , ÚáÇÁ
ÍÇÒã ÇáÈÇÔÇ

Alkarama is also concerned with the fate of dozens of
Lebanese citizens, interrogated daily by the Lebanese intelligence services for
providing support to Syrian refugees.

Alkarama calls on the Lebanese authorities to respect their
international obligations and to ensure that individuals detained by them
should not be exposed to ill-treatment while in detention, and that their
conditions of detention should be in respect of the Standards Minimum Rules for
the Treatment of Prisoners.

The Lebanese authorities should further refrain from sending
back Syrian refugees to places where they may face torture.