Lebanon continues to be the country hosting the largest number of refugees vis-à-vis the size of the population. It is estimated that 1 in every 6 persons in Lebanon is a refugee. Currently, the country hosts an estimated 1.5 million refugees from Syria, 20,000 from other origins and about 450,000 Palestinians. While rich countries are closing their borders to migrants and refugees in need of protection, developing countries have opened their borders and are hosting 80% of the world’s refugee population. Clearly, much needs to be done to ensure equitable responsibility-sharing for the plight of refugees globally.
The historic adoption at the end of 2018 of two landmark agreements, namely the UN Global Compact on Refugees and the UN Global on Migration, is a step in the right direction. However, like many developing countries hosting refugee populations with limited resources, the country struggles to maintain a balance between providing refugee protection and assistance, meeting its population needs and promoting inclusion.
While States have the primary human rights obligation to protect the rights of migrants and refugees, trade unions and civil society play a critical role in ensuring that States carry-out this obligation, while contributing to shaping policy, extending support and working with refugees and migrant communities.
The Roundtable Discussion will bring together trade unions, civil society, government and international organization stakeholders to share perspectives towards strengthening refugee protection and assistance in Lebanon, with the view to promoting access to decent work, social protection and access to quality public services.
Representatives of PSI affiliates in Lebanon, visiting affiliates from Sweden, PSI Secretariat, General Confederation of Lebanese Workers (CGTL), other trade unions, civil society organisations, experts, and representatives from government and international organisations, such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR).
- How to address the needs of refugees and host communities towards a peaceful and inclusive society?
- How to ensure the human rights of refugees and host communities to decent work, social protection and quality public services?
- What is the role of trade unions in responding to these needs? What is the role of civil society?
- How can we work together to support the national implementation of the UN Global Compact on Refugees and the UN Global Compact on Migration?
Programme and Agenda
8h.30 – 9.00
09.00 – 9.45
Opening and Welcome
- Opening Welcome - Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary, Public Services International
- Opening Welcome – PSI Lebanese affiliates
- Solidarity Messages from PSI Swedish affiliates and project partners – ASSR, ST, and Vårdförbundet
- Introduction of Participants
- Brief introduction to PSI’s Project on Human Rights, Trade Unions and Quality Public Services for Refugees and Migrant Workers in the MENA Countries - Genevieve Gencianos, PSI Migration Programme Coordinator and Chahnaz El Zein, PSI Projects Assistant
9.45 – 11.00
1st round of discussion: Overview from ILO and UNHCR
Moderator: Najwa Hanna, PSI Acting Sub-Regional Secretary for Arab Countries
- Syrian Refugees’ Needs, Protection and Assistance – overview from UNHCR – Carole El Sayed, Protection Officer, UNHCR
- Programmes and Strategies towards Refugees – The Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP) - Natacha Sarkis, Deputy Project Manager, Ministry of Social Affairs, Republic of Lebanon
- Access to Decent Work for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon – ILO Employment Intensive Infrastructure Programme (EIIP) – Toni Ayrouth, Decent Work Advisor, International Labour Organization Regional Office for the Arab States
- The Role of Trade Unions in defending Access to Decent Work and Social Protection for All Workers – Bechara Asmar, President, General Confederation of Lebanese Workers (CGTL)
Questions and Answers / Discussion
11.00 – 11.30
Break - Group photo
11.30 – 13.00
2nd round of discussion: Trade unions and Civil Society Perspectives
Moderator: Khalil Zeaiter, General Secretary of the “syndicat des employés de Port de Beirut”, Member of the Executive Bureau of the “Confederation Generale des Travailleurs Libanais”
- Results of the PSI Mapping and Participatory Research on Refugee Access to Decent Work and Quality Public Services in Lebanon – Ghassan Slaiby, PSI Expert Consultant
- Protection and assistance to Refugees – A social worker’s insights and perspectives – Nadia Badran, President of the Social Workers Syndicate
- Gender empowerment in refugee protection and assistance – Anthony Keedy - Masculinities Technical Advisor at ABAAD-Resource Center for Gender Equality
- Implementing the UN Global Compact on Refugees and the UN Global Compact on Migration: Perspectives from civil society - Roula Hamati, International Advocacy Manager at INSAN Association & the Cross Regional Center for Refugees and Migrants (CCRM)
Question and Answers/ Discussion
Wrap-up and Conclusion, Genevieve Gencianos, PSI Migration Programme Coordinator
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