Poverty for Syrian refugees in Lebanon could push children to marry and work

Updated 09 January 2018

Poverty for Syrian refugees in Lebanon could push children to marry and work

BEIRUT: Nearly seven years into Syria’s civil war, Syrian refugees in neighboring Lebanon are becoming poorer, leaving children at risk of child labor and early marriage, aid organizations said on Tuesday.
A recent survey by the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF, UN’s World Food Programme, and refugee agency, UNHCR showed that Syrian refugees in Lebanon are more vulnerable now than they have been since the beginning of the crisis.
Struggling to survive, more than three quarters of the refugees in Lebanon now live on less than $4 per day, according to the survey which was based on data collected last year.
“The situation for Syrian refugees in Lebanon is actually getting worse — they are getting poorer. They are barely staying afloat,” Scott Craig, UNHCR spokesman in Lebanon, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Around 1.5 million refugees who fled Syria’s violence account for a quarter of Lebanon’s population.
The Lebanese government has long avoided setting up official refugee camps. So, many Syrians live in tented settlements, languishing in poverty and facing restrictions on legal residence or work.
“Child labor and early marriage are direct consequences of poverty,” Tanya Chapuizat, UNICEF spokeswoman in Lebanon said in a statement to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“We fear this (poverty) will lead to more children being married away or becoming breadwinners instead of attending school,” she said.
According to UNICEF, 5 percent of Syrian refugee children between 5-17 are working, and one in five Syrian girls and women aged between 15 and 25 is married.
Mike Bruce, a spokesman for the Norwegian Refugee Council, said without sufficient humanitarian aid and proper work Syrian families would increasingly fall into debt and more could turn to “negative coping mechanisms” like child labor and marriage.
Cold winter temperatures in Lebanon would also hurt refugees, he said.
“Refugees are less and less able to deal with each shock that they face and severe weather could be one of those shocks,” said Bruce.


Israeli PM: Palestinians in Jordan Valley won’t be citizens

Updated 22 min 36 sec ago

Israeli PM: Palestinians in Jordan Valley won’t be citizens

  • Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with plans to annex the Jordan Valley

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley will remain in what he described as an “enclave” after Israel annexes the territory and will not be granted Israeli citizenship.
Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with plans to annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, in line with President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, a process that could begin as early as July 1.
The annexation of the Jordan Valley and the far-flung settlements would make it virtually impossible to create a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel, which is still widely seen as the only way to resolve the decades-old conflict.
In an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper, Netanyahu said Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, including residents of the city of Jericho, would remain under limited Palestinian self-rule, with Israel having overall security control.
“They will remain a Palestinian enclave,” he said. “You’re not annexing Jericho. There’s a cluster or two. You don’t need to apply sovereignty over them. They will remain Palestinian subjects, if you will. But security control also applies to these places.”
Palestinians in the West Bank have lived under Israeli military rule since the 1967 war, when Israel captured the territory, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza. The Palestinians want all three territories to form their future state.
The Trump plan would grant the Palestinians limited statehood over scattered enclaves surrounded by Israel if they meet a long list of conditions. Israel has embraced the plan, while the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank, has angrily rejected it and cut ties with the US and Israel.
Netanyahu said that if the Palestinians accept all the conditions in the plan, including Israel maintaining overall security control, “then they will have an entity of their own that President Trump defines as a state.”
Under a coalition agreement reached last month, Netanyahu can bring his annexation plans before the government as early as July 1.
The Palestinian Authority has said it is no longer bound by any agreements signed with Israel and the US, and says it has cut off security coordination with Israel. Neighboring Jordan, a close Western ally and one of only two Arab states to have made peace with Israel, has warned of a “massive conflict” if Israel proceeds with annexation.