Lebanon: Refugees

Department for International Development written question – answered on 14th December 2017.

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Photo of George Freeman George Freeman Conservative, Mid Norfolk

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent discussions she has had with her counterpart in the Lebanese Government on the potential forced return of refugees to Syria.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

I have raised the issue of refugee returns on several occasions with the Government of Lebanon, including during a visit to Lebanon in October 2017, where I met with President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, among others. I also discussed the issue with Education Minister Marwan Hamade and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil when they visited the UK in November. The UK is committed to ensuring that any refugee returns to Syria take place voluntarily, in safety and dignity, in line with international law. We do not support forced returns and will not support any returns before Syria or parts of Syria are declared safe by the United Nations. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees does not currently consider conditions to be in place for refugees to return to Syria in safety and dignity.

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