ROME: Lebanese Justice Minister Henry Khoury told his Italian counterpart Carlo Nordio that Syrians fleeing to his country should no longer be considered as “refugees” but as “economically displaced.”
During a meeting in Rome to discuss enhancing judicial cooperation, Khoury said: “The massive influx of Syrians to Lebanon is an issue that will have negative impacts on Europe. For them, Lebanon is only a temporary destination, while their actual goal is to reach Europe.”
Since 2011, more than a million Syrians have taken refuge in Lebanon, whose population is just under 4 million people.
Lebanon never signed the Geneva Convention on refugees, and does not recognize the refugee status of Palestinians or Syrians who are in the country.
Khoury told Nordio that the bad conditions in Lebanese prisons are caused by the “transgressions” of displaced Syrians “that raise the crime rate and the number of prisoners in the country.”
He added: “The prison infrastructure in Lebanon cannot withstand the overcrowding resulting from the high number of prisoners.”
Nordio pledged “every possible cooperation though specific programs to help the judicial system in Lebanon in order to perform its regular activities.”