|Picture belonging to the same article: © EPA|
Thousands of Palestinian refugees fled to Lebanon following the March 2011 uprising in Syri
In a change of policy, the Lebanese government orders the deportation of dozens of Palestinian refugees back to Syria.
Lebanon's General Security department has forcibly deported 41 Palestinian refugees back to Syria, despite the fact that they had entered the country legally.
The move on May 4 ran counter to an earlier decision by the Lebanese government to not deport any refugee back to Syria under any circumstances. Lebanese authorities pointed out that the arrests and the following deportation was due to the fact that the detainees held forged visas to Libya. After long hours of interrogation at Beirut International Airport, a decision was made to deport the group.
Human rights activists argue that the move was not an isolated incident, but rather is part of a larger campaign by the Lebanese government targeting Palestinian refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict, who now number 50,000 in Lebanon.
"This has been an ongoing campaign against Palestinians from Syria fleeing to Lebanon," Metwali Abu Nasser, a journalist and scriptwriter who fled Yarmouk camp last year, told Al Jazeera.
Abu Nasser explained that the deportation of Palestinian refugees "should be seen in light of the harsh practises the Lebanese government deploys against Palestinians, whether it is those who are residents of Lebanon or those fleeing from Syria".