Norwegian People’s Aid in Lebanon is engaged both in long-term development and in dealing with the humanitarian crisis in the country. We support the struggle for rights of Palestinian refugees, who have been living in Lebanon since 1948. We also work alongside our local partners to see to the immediate needs of the 1.1 million or so Syrian refugees that constitute an enormous pressure on Lebanese society.
The history of Norwegian People’s Aid in Lebanon stretches back to 1982, the main focus being support of the Palestinian refugees in the country. Today, Norwegian People’s Aid undertakes both long-term development work, with the emphasis on organisations that mobilise for vulnerable groups’ rights, and humanitarian work, where focus is on the current refugee situation.
With over one million Syrian refugees in a country of only 4.5 million citizens, the humanitarian challenges in Lebanon are enormous. Since 2012, Norwegian People’s Aid has supported local partner organisations engaged in helping Syrian and Palestinian refugees from Syria. 80% of refugees in the area are women and children, and our partners evaluate needs so that relief reaches the most vulnerable families, most often single women or families with members who are disabled or seriously ill. Norwegian People’s Aid collaborates with partners that provide food aid to those most vulnerable and cash support to people so that they can buy what they need.
In Lebanon, we support organisations that provide simple vocational training for refugees from Syria and Palestinian refugees. Palestinian refugees in Syria are excluded from 72 professions and have very limited access to the labour market. Syrian refugees have only limited workers’ rights and are only permitted to work in the cleaning services, construction or agriculture. In collaboration with our partners, we provide training and funding to persons wishing to set up various types of small-scale production in order to boost their own income.
Displaced single women are particularly vulnerable, and Norwegian People’s Aid partner offer advice and protection to women who are subjected to violence and persecution by family members or relatives.
Rehabilitation for war victims
One of our partner organisations in Lebanon provides medical assistance to Syrian and Palestinian refugees that have physical disabilities and war injuries, as well as physiotherapy and rehabilitation services. Children and adults with war injuries are offered prostheses and physical rehabilitation in the Bekaa Valley and at other locations in Lebanon.
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
The enormous influx of refugees from Syria has also worsened conditions for the 260-280,000 Palestinians in refugee camps that have been staying in Lebanon since the establishment of Israel in 1948. The cramped camps have opened their doors for just under 50,000 Palestinian refugees from Palestinian refugee camps in Syria. The stream of refugees from Syria, in conjunction with reduced pay or increasing unemployment among Palestinians who have had work, leads to increased tension and social unrest in the Palestinian camps. Norwegian People’s Aid partners provide assistance to both the Palestinian refugees from Syria and those who have been living in Lebanon for a longer period.
Long-term rights work
Norwegian People’s Aid is engaged in mobilising for rights and social participation for Palestinian refugees – for women and young people in particular – and for dialogue internally between refugees and externally with Lebanese organisations and authorities. The purpose of this work is to strengthen the participation of women and young people in politics and social life. Greater political accomplishments and motivation in women leads to increased visibility and local action and strengthens women’s roles and influence in the Palestinian camps.
Local partner organisations promote Palestinians’ human rights as refugees in Lebanon, their right to work and own where they live, as well as the right to return to their original homes in Israel or the occupied territories.