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Syrian women refugees in Akkar suffer from trafficking, exploitation and racism


Al Akhbar published a report about the increase in the number of Lebanese marrying Syrian refugee girls especially after the Fatwas issued by Sunni clergy in Akkar allowing this kind of marriages in order to “protect refugee women and prevent them from taking on other means to ensure their livelihoods”.  As such, marrying Syrian women and girls has now become “an act of charity” especially amongst married men who have found in this Fatwa a way to get out of monogamy with as little cost as possible.  This practice has also become popular amongst young men who have found a “halal” way to live their own family lives.

The report also reflects the point of view of Syrian women and girls who see in this marriage a way to cope with their present hardship especially given the continuous crisis in Syria and given the fact that, unlike Lebanese women, Lebanese men can transmit their nationalities to their non-Lebanese spouses.  Local leaders and Moukhtars in Akkar express their discontent (often on a clear racist note) with this trend as, according to them, this is depriving Lebanese girls from marriage since young Lebanese men can have Syrian wives!  Some went as far as to say that a Lebanese man needs USD 50000 to be able to marry whereas Syrian men sell their daughters to marriage for a mere USD 1000.  A Mukhtar added that 25 young men have married Syrian refugees.  The mayor of Miniaryah shared the storey of two young Syrian girls working in the field and boasting about the amount of money for which they were sold.  The mayor further adds that “this is common practice amongst Syrian refugees and is not imposed by the Lebanese”.

According to Al Akhabar, Syrian men are also marrying Lebanese women but to a lesser extent as Syrian men are unable to secure livelihood requirements.  The Moukhtar of Kaytah, Khaled Al Mir, famous for having launched the racist call for a “Akkar free of Syrians” noted that there are 70 marriages to Syrian women every months and way more less for Syrian men marrying Lebanese because, according to him, Lebanese women “have more pride and will not accept to marry homeless men living in tents and paid for by charitable organisations”.
Source: Al-Akhbar 7 November 2013

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