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  The Refugees

 
Lebanon and Refugees

Two categories of refugees exist in Lebanon, and represent more than 10% of the total population of the country: Palestinian refugees and non-Palestinian refugees. Two specific UN Bodies cover each category: the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) and the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).

2,672 refugees were recognized to be refugees by UNHCR at the end of 2000, whereas in early 1998, UNHCR was helping to protect and assist a total of 3,191 refugees, including 1990 Iraqis, 550 Afghans, 284 Sudanese, 152 Somalis and 215 refugees from other countries.

UNHCR tries to ensure the protection of refugees under its own statute. In conjunction with local NGOs, particularly the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), UNHCR also promotes asylum through refugee law seminars and workshops. Lebanon then allows refugees, recognized by UNHCR, to stay in Lebanon, but only on a temporary basis without any prospects of integration. Since Lebanese authorities deny refugees the access to employment, UNHCR meets their most basic and immediate needs.

In addition to refugees covered by the UNHCR, there are 376,472 Palestine refugees who sought asylum in Lebanon. They are assisted by the UNRWA.

UNRWA provides education, health, relief and social services to 376,472 Palestine Refugees in Lebanon, 210,715 of them live in 12 official camps. Unlike other United Nations organizations, which work through local authorities or executing agencies, UNRWA plans and carries out its own activities (such as schools and clinics) and provides its services directly to Palestine refugees.

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