Beirut, July 27 — The UN refugee agency is negotiating with Lebanon over the country’s plan to enforce new border controls that could affect the flow of Syrian refugees.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees representative in Beirut Ninette Kelley said it Friday in a statement, Xinhua reported Friday. “We understand from the government that they are now exerting stricter scrutiny at the border.”
“We will continue to engage with the authorities to ensure that refugees in need of protection will have access to Lebanon but also that the legitimate security concerns of the government are respected and observed,” Kelly added.
The statement comes three days after the Lebanese government announced new entry controls, in a bid to reduce friction between the local population and Syrian refugees.
There are at least 645,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, though the real number is believed to be much higher, according to the latest UN report.
Refugees in Lebanon have surpassed 25 per cent of its own population and are inflicting a huge burden on the state and people of the country, the UN Higher Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said in a report last month.
Lebanon is hosting the largest portion of the 1.8 million Syrian refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries to escape a conflict which is presently in its third year.
Lebanon has frequently called on the UN Security Council and international donors to help it shoulder the burden of hosting the Syrian refugees, who are expected to cross the threshold of one million by the end of the year.