PRS in Lebanon

As of April 2014, over 53,070 Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) were seeking safety and shelter from the ongoing conflict in Lebanon. However, even Lebanon is becoming an increasingly desperate option.

One of the most immediate concerns for PRS is shelter, but a housing shortage, combined with the government's reluctance to authorize the establishment of new refugee camps, has made rental prices prohibitively high. The increase has not spared the country's 12 existing Palestine refugee camps, which suffered from high rates of poverty and overcrowding even before the influx. It is crucial that UNRWA continue to be able to provide rental assistance in order to help Palestine refugees fulfil this important need.

Providing continued, reliable access to education helps UNRWA ensure a sense of normalcy for PRS children and prevent major disruptions in their academic progress. In Lebanon, we are working to accommodate PRS children and address their needs; as of April, 7,486 PRS children were attending UNRWA schools in Lebanon – 15 per cent integrated into the regular UNRWA system in the country and 85 per cent in special classes for PRS. The overall low enrolment, however, indicates the difficulties PRS families are facing in finding stability and shelter.

Our health programme is also facing new challenges. While PRS are able to access UNRWA primary health care services, and the Agency has provided support for secondary and tertiary care for those with life-threatening conditions, the growing numbers - combined with the already high costs of medical care in Lebanon - make it increasingly difficult for UNRWA to ensure adequate access to critical care.

Especially in light of the continuing regional crisis, protection remains one of our main priorities. When they attempt to find safety in Lebanon, Palestine refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria are subjected to a separate visa policy, which is both expensive and offers a limited duration of stay. The difficulties of maintaining a valid legal status make PRS particularly vulnerable, as they can become ineligible for civil registration or lose access to certain Palestine refugee camps. UNRWA is enhancing the legal counselling services we provide to advise Palestine refugees from Syria on visas, legal status, civil registration and other matters.


from Our spokesperson Chris Gunness

the restrictions on Palestine refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria from entering Lebanon
10 May 2014 

UNRWA continues to monitor the situation at the crossing point at Masnaa between Lebanon and Syria and following up on its implications. We are aware of around 25 Palestinians who tried to cross the border into Lebanon between Sunday and Thursday, of which only few were allowed to enter.  

8 May 2014 

No Palestinians from Syria allowed into Lebanon at the Masnaa Crossing again today.

UNRWA continues to monitor the situation at the crossing point at Masnaa between Lebanon and Syria and according to our information, since 9 am this morning no Palestine refugees from Syria have been allowed to cross into Lebanon. The United Nations and its partners in Lebanon continue to express their concern about the recent increased restrictions and we will continue to monitor the situation on the border carefully. Earlier this week, we were given assurances by the Lebanese authorities that these restrictions are temporary. We hope that they will be lifted within the next few days.   It is essential that civilians fleeing Syria and seeking safety and protection are granted access and not returned in circumstances where their lives would be at risk, in line with the international customary norm of non-refoulement.

7 May 2014

No Palestinians Allowed Across the Masnaa Crossing Today from Syria into Lebanon

“UNRWA has been monitoring the situation at the crossing point at Masnaa between Lebanon and Syria and can report that no Palestine refugees from Syria have been allowed into Lebanon today and that some families trying to cross have been refused entry. We remain concerned about the increased restrictions and we will continue to monitor the situation on the  border carefully. We have been given assurances by the Lebanese authorities that these restrictions are temporary. We hope that they will be lifted within the next few days. Lebanon has given refuge to hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the conflict in Syria, including about 50,000 Palestinians, and is in urgent need of increased international assistance. However we underscore the position of the Security Council which has “affirmed the importance of the principle of non-refoulement” and “recalled its encouragement to countries neighbouring Syria to protect all people fleeing the violence in Syria, including Palestinians. The Security Council has also urged  “all UN Member States, based on burden sharing principles, to support countries neighbouring Syria in assisting refugees and affected communities.  

6 May 2014

UNRWA is concerned about the increased restrictions on Palestine refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria from entering Lebanon. 

We are monitoring the situation on the border carefully and have been given assurances by the Lebanese authorities that these restrictions are temporary. We hope that they will be lifted within the next few days.

UNRWA is concerned about the deportation from Lebanon of 41 Palestine refugees back to Syria at the weekend. We recognize that Lebanon has given refuge to hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the conflict in Syria, including about 50,000 Palestinians, and is in need of increased international assistance. However we underscore the position of the Security Council which has “affirmed the importance of the principle of non-refoulement” and “recalled its encouragement to countries neighbouring Syria to protect all people fleeing the violence in Syria, including Palestinians”.