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Abu Sleiman delivers Lebanon speech at Geneva conference: Safe return of displaced Syrians solution to crisis

Head of the Arab Group, Minister of Labor Camille Abu Sleiman, said that "it is no longer a secret to anyone that the most important challenges facing Lebanon lie in the unprecedented number of displaced Syrians on its soil, since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011; thus making Lebanon the country hosting the biggest percentage of displaced in the world compared to its size and its population. The number of displaced Syrians actually exceeds one third of the number of citizens in Lebanon, without counting the numbers of refugees of other nationalities."

Speaking at the 108th Session of the International Labor Conference in Geneva, Abou Sleiman said: "The serious repercussions of hosting this number of Syrian refugees are no longer a secret. They include a sharp rise in national unemployment rates, especially among the youth, in light of the low growth rates."

"Syrian IDPs are competing with the Lebanese for job opportunities, and the phenomenon of illegal employment, which poses a threat to economic and social security, has been exacerbated. Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, Lebanon has never ceased to fulfill its humanitarian duty towards the Syrian refugees, hosting them on its territory out of respect for the concepts of human rights and humanitarian law," he said. "But Lebanon -- with the Syrian crisis entering its ninth year -- is suffering huge economic and social crises that exceed its capacity to withstand, given its limited potential."

The Minister of Labor thus called on behalf of Lebanon to "join efforts for the safe return of displaced Syrians to their country, as this return is an ideal solution to the crisis of the displaced and a means to protect Lebanon and its sustainability."

It should be noted that the Syrian delegation participating in the conference withdrew while Abu Sleiman delivered his speech.

Source: National News Agency