Refugee Camp Fire – 26th Dec 2020
Refugee Camp Fire
For the second time in a row, certain groups or communities within the Lebanese population seize individual personal issues and convert them into racist actions that amplify the prejudices these groups hold against the Syrian refugees. Hundreds of Syrian refugees were forced to flee their home after their camp was set on fire, on Saturday the 26th of december, after a fight between refugees and locals. The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, confirmed a large fire had broken out in a camp in the Miniyeh region and said some injured had been taken to hospital, but did not provide an exact number.The fire led to gas canisters blowing up. This caused further damage to the surrounding area. [Link1] [Link 2] This incidence should be considered the second of its kind. A month prior to this Minieh attack, 270 Syrian families fled their homes in Bcharre, North of Lebanon, after a Syrian citizen allegedly fired a weapon at a local in a personal dispute. Following this incident, locals vented their anger against Syrians as whole, attacking refugees and setting homes alight. [Link 3] [Link 4]
Based on that, the Lebanese Medical Students International Committee (LeMSIC) and Standing Committee on Human Rights and Peace (SCORP) strongly condemn such inhumane acts that go against not only our core values, but also the human rights that Lebanon vowed to respect when it signed the Universal Declaration for Human Rights on December 10th 1948 and when it joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1964.
We as LeMSIC-SCORP believe that generalizing a stereotype or holding a prejudice against a group of people solely due to their nationality, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, culture, or age is a violation to the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. We, therefore, refuse any action that is based on racist ideologies and misconceptions from whoever it comes and wherever it occurs. We stand firmly in support of our brothers and sisters that were inhumanely targeted in their camps in Minieh-Tripoli. We are deeply saddened that they have to face the cruel outcomes of these racist actions on top of all the obstacles and prejudice that they were already burdened with.
Therefore as a concluding note, LeMSIC – SCORP calls to action:
All relevant governmental and non-governmental bodies to join our stance and to unify our efforts to curb all forms of racism and prejudice with emphasis in this case towards Syrian refugees.
Call on all non-governmental organizations to collaborate with LeMSIC in raising awareness on these matters
The government should conduct a formal investigation to find and aim to prosecute everyone involved in this fire.
All media outlets to highlight these issues, to denounce these actions, and to increase the pressure on the government to conduct a thorough investigation.
The international community to ensure that such racially charged actions are condemned and to increase their support to all local efforts aiming to eradicate such behaviors from the Lebanese community.
The Standing Committee on Human Rights and Peace,
Lebanese Medical Students International Committee