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The war in Syria has put Lebanon's treatment of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants in sharp relief. Three years into the conflict, Lebanon has gained the distinction of having the highest per-capita concentration of refugees recorded anywhere in the world in recent history, this despite the fact that Lebanon is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention. The country also hosts tens of thousands of long-term Palestinian refugees and a sizable population of immigrants from as far away as Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Ethiopia, many of whom are domestic laborers vulnerable to detention and deportation because their contractual agreements link residency to their employers. Non-citizens who are apprehended on account of their irregular residency status are generally charged with violations of Lebanese criminal law. After completing prison sentences, they are typically transferred to Lebanon’s sole dedicated immigration detention centre, which is located in a former parking garage underneath a highway that crosses Beirut. The facility is often overcrowded and conditions are extreme, with no natural light or ventilation. There is no established maximum limit on the duration of administrative detention and legislative reform has been lagging.

Lebanon Quick Facts

  • International migrants:
    New asylum applications :