Since entering the Lebanese territories after the outbreak of the Syrian war in March 2011, Syrian refugees have faced violations and restrictions on their most basic rights by official and security agencies in Lebanon, as well as societal discrimination and racist attitudes.
Recently, new abuses by some armed groups against Syrians have emerged in Lebanon. Several individuals reported that men claiming to be members of Hezbollah and Amal Movement threatened them in order to give up their homes and properties on the Lebanese - Syrian border. According to Mr. S.N, after he accepted the meeting, it became clear to him that they wanted to pressure him to give up his home, which was located in a bordering village.
After refusing to give in, they threatened him until he had to move to the outskirts of the capital. S.N also had to limit his movements out of the house for fear of being watched and threatened again, which affected his work and his family’s financial situation. The gunmen also assaulted one of his children with heavy beatings. Following that, S.N contacted several security agencies yet no solution was found as he has not agreed to give up his properties. Helater found his house had been confiscated and inhabited by a Syrian without his consent. SN confirmed that one of his relatives had been investigated by men claiming to belong to Hezbollah and Amal movement.
Recently, S.N's wife reported that someone was following her to and from her workplace.
Two people also came forward with stories similar to S.N’s. They confirmed that they had also been threatened by armed men who asked them to relinquish their property in a Syrian village on the border. They also confirmed that they have been receiving threats for over a year and a half, and that some of their relatives had been kidnapped in order to pressure them to give up their properties.
These clear and flagrant violations of the basic rights of these individuals pose a threat to their lives and to their future. The use of arms and the exploitation of their social and economic status to seize their property is an offence punishable under Lebanese law articles 573 (Any other person who threatens to use a weapon shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months and the penalty shall be two months to one year if the weapon is firearms and used by the perpetrator) and 578 (any other threat of undue harm if caused by the words or by one of the means mentioned in article 209, which would have a severe effect on the same person, shall be punishable, on the basis of the complaint, by a fine not exceeding LBP 100,000) of the Penal Code.
CLDH is concerned about such alarming violations and therefore raises the following recommendations:
To the Council of Ministers:
- Instruct notaries to tighten the procedure for the sale/waiver of land outside Lebanon.
- Set a procedure for the ratification of the notary's paper by the Lebanese and Syrian States in the event of the sale or renunciation of property in Syrian territory
- Ensure a strict application of articles 573 and 578 of the Lebanese Penal Code.
To Hezbollah and Amal Movement:
- Cooperate with Security Agencies to identify the individuals involved in these assaults and contribute to their arrest.
- Ensure the protection of property owners adjacent to the Lebanese-Syrian border and to follow up on cases with the Government of Lebanon.