The United Nations High Comissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday voiced deep concern over Foreign Minister Bassil's decision to freeze the issuance of residence permits to international staff of the agency in Lebanon, hoping that the decision will be reversed without delay.
"This affects our staff and their families and directly impacts UNHCR’s ability to effectively carry out critical protection and solutions work in Lebanon," read a statement issued by the agency.
"Our work is aimed at supporting the Government of Lebanon and local communities in managing the tremendous challenge Lebanon faces in hosting around a million Syrian refugees, and to continue our efforts within the broader United Nations family and international community to finding, for refugees, durable solutions outside Lebanon."
UNHCR underscored the importance of working closely with Lebanon to find safe, dignified and sustainable solutions for Syrian refugees.
"In all countries we respect the rights of refugees to decide freely and for themselves on returning home. And similarly, we do not discourage returns that are based on individual free and informed decisions," the statement noted.