This week in Lebanon

Sunday, April 11, 2021
Heidi Ahmed
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April 11, 2021
One-Third of Lebanese May Lose Social Security Services
Hezbollah Provides Aid to 50,000 Families
UNHCR Report on Human Rights Violations in Syria

One-Third of Lebanese May Lose Social Security Services
This week Director-General of the National Security Fund (NSSF) of Lebanon Mohamad Karaki warned that the fund my be forced to halt social security services to a third of the Lebanese population. He iterated that unlike all other ministries and administrations, the NSSF has not been receiving due payments and over the years funds owed to the NSSF have reached approximately 4,500 Lebanese pounds. [The 961]

ANALYSIS

“Director General Karaki of the NSSF stressed that they “would not be able to continue covering people’s healthcare fees if the state did not urgently provide the Fund with payments, including settling what remains unpaid of the 2020 budget.” The solvency of the national social security fund as well as other parts of the social safety net should not be left until the finances of the country are on the right footing. It is time for the US, France and other in the international community and make it clear to Lebanon’s leadership that their time is over and a new government capable of addressing the needs of the Lebanese must be put in place. In the meantime, the World Bank’s poverty program should be adopted by the caretaker government and increased by donors to respond to the already impending crisis, made even more acute by the potential the default of a social security system.”
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel


Hezbollah Provides Aid to 50,000 Families
This week Shiite party deputy Hassan Fadlallah said that Hezbollah is providing direct aid to 50,000 underprivileged families in Lebanon in the form of direct assistance, food, health, and/or education. The group is hoping to increase that number to 100,000 families during Ramadan. [L’Oreint-Le Jour]

ANALYSIS

“This article notes that Hezbollah will be providing direct aid to 50,000 Shia families, with plans to double that number during Ramadan which starts this week. Hezbollah is also increasing support to agricultural projects through micro-credits. While the government stumbles and staggers trying to reconstitute itself, Hezbollah keeps its eyes on the prize…ensuring the support of its constituents. Is there a lesson here for the other sects?”
-ATFL Policy Director Jean AbiNader


UNHCR Report on Human Rights Violations in Syria
The UN Human Rights Council released a report from the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic on humanitarian law violations and abuses in Syria including crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide and other international crimes. [UN Human Rights Council]

ANALYSIS

“Let us not forget that Lebanon’s fate is gravely affected by what is going on next door in Syria. Updated data indicates that with more than half the Syrian population displaced, 2.5 million children out of school, a third of schools closed, around 9.3 million Syrians food insecure, and 60% living in extreme poverty, there is little hope that it will recover in the next decade. The border with Lebanon will remain insecure, a haven for smugglers, with a million refugees unable or unwilling to return under the current regime. The hopelessness is manipulated by politicians on both sides. Thankfully, the US remains the single largest humanitarian donor of Syria crisis response aid, providing nearly $13 billion since 2011.”
-ATFL Policy Director Jean AbiNader

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.