Lebanon refuses to accept emigrants who left country informally

Lebanon refuses to accept emigrants who left country informally

Foreign Ministry issues statement after learning of departure of illegal migrant boat from Lebanese waters to Greek Cypriot Administration

By Wassim Saifeddine

BEIRUT (AA) – Lebanon affirmed its strict stance on immigration Thursday, saying that "non-Lebanese" emigrants who left the country informally and are sent back will not be received in the country.

In a statement, the Lebanese Foreign Ministry said it had been informed of the departure of an illegal migrant boat from its territorial waters to the Greek Cypriot Administration.

It underlined Lebanon's commitment to “receiving migrants who hold Lebanese identity papers” and condemned such illegal departures.

The ministry stressed that non-Lebanese emigrants who are sent back will not be accepted, "regardless of their boat's starting point."

The ministry also criticized the “double standards” of some countries "in dealing with illegal immigrants, and especially Syrians."

Lebanon hosts 1.8 million Syrian refugees, about 880,000 of whom are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, according to Lebanese estimates.

In September 2022, the Lebanese government decided to take administrative, security, judicial and intelligence measures to limit irregular migration trips across the sea.

Attempts to migrate from Lebanon to European countries are increasing in light of an unprecedented deterioration in living conditions and a record rise in poverty rates following the stifling economic crisis the country has been witnessing since 2019.

*Contributed by Seda Sevencan in Istanbul

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