« Ethics and Politics : Response to the Plight of Refugees”
Humanitarian response to the refugee crisis in the region, specifically in Lebanon, was part of Beirut Institute’s Off-the-Record Series in-depth discussion on political, economic and humanitarian challenges in the Arab region.
This series hopes to produce highly informed policy options and to present constructive policy papers.
Raghida Dergham , Beirut Institute’s Founder and Executive Director presided over the meeting . HE Peter Maurer, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was the guest of honor; also in attendance were the Lebanese Minister of Social Affairs HE Wael Abou Faour, the Lebanese Minister of Education and Higher Education HE Hassan Diab, the Lebanese Minister of State HE Marwan Kheireddine, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Lebanon HE Ali Awadh Asseri, the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Lebanon HE Inan Ozylidiz, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark to Lebanon HE Jan Top Christensen, the Special Coordinator of the UN Secretary-General for Lebanon Mr. Derek Plumbly, the UNHCR’s Representative in Lebanon Ms. Ninette Kelley, the Director of Economic Development and Globalization Division at ESCWA Mr. Abdullah El-Dardari, Member of the Lebanese Parliament Me. Ghassan Moukheiber, Former Member of the Lebanese Governemt Mr. Misbah El-Ahdab, the Political Chief Section at the United States of America Embassy to Lebanon Danielle Garbe, the Humanitarian Adviser at the Department for International Development Mr. Jeremy Loveless, the Head of Delegtion in Beirut at ICRC Mr. Jurg Montani, the Head of Operations for the Near and MEA at ICRC Mr. Robert Mardini, a representative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Embassy to Lebanon Dr. Aref Wraikat and the Secretary General of the Lebanese Red Cross Mr. George Kettaneh.
The discussants stressed the necessary role of the international community in handling the crisis of refugees and warned of alarming consequences of neglecting the eroding capacity of neighboring countries. They pointed to the weak infrastructure which is rapidly becoming more tenuous due to the high influx of Syrian refugees to Lebanon and other neighboring countries. Security was emphasized by participants as both an international responsibility and that of Lebanese authorities. Education, health and economic development were identified as sectors that need to be sustained. Participants emphasized the need for coordination and leadership to boost and enhance an effective humanitarian response which requires transparency in managing funds. Some participants called for an international conference that would explore ways of sharing the responsibility, some proposed that Lebanon could be the transit country for refugees, while others opposed.
Participants shared their recommendations that will be included in a strategic policy paper which will be presented to the stakeholders to better address the crisis.
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