Marking a Milestone: 100,000 Refugees Resettled from Lebanon Since Eruption of Syrian Crisis

Jasem, 24, and Jumana, 25, are starting the next phase of their life in France with their son and newborn twins. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed

Beirut – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this month (June) noted its 100,000th resettlement of a refugee residing in Lebanon assisted in beginning a new life in a third country since fleeing the crisis in neighbouring Syria. This marks a significant milestone in IOM Lebanon’s resettlement efforts since the Syrian crisis first erupted in 2011. 

Lebanon, a country of nearly six million, is home to an additional one million UN-registered refugees, mainly Syrian, although others hail from Iraq, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan. 

For these eight years, IOM in Lebanon has worked alongside the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to resettle refugees to 25 countries, including Canada, Australia and European Member States, among others. These efforts accelerated in 2014, and then again at the end of 2015, when the Government of Canada made its commitment to admit 25,000 Syrian refugees from the three Middle Eastern countries of Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.  

One was “Kasem,” a Syrian refugee father of three who was recently resettled from Lebanon to Canada, who said: “When we were first told we would be resettled to Canada I was so happy. I know that we can get better services for my son’s medical condition, because we are moving to London in Ontario where they have the best hospitals. My children are going to get better education. We are going to be safe and get back all we have lost in our country.”  

In Lebanon, IOM conducts health assessments for refugees prior to their departure to ensure that their health needs are addressed, they are fit to travel and to ensure continuity of care for those with existing health conditions.  

During Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) Sessions, trainers provide vital information about the social services and opportunities refugees will find upon arrival. Refugees also learn about customs, laws and rights in their new countries.  

In some cases, IOM also facilitates the selection missions for immigration interviews in partnership with governments of receiving countries. Finally, IOM teams organize all land and air travel, ensuring movements from Lebanon are organized in a safe, timely and efficient manner. 

Around the world, IOM assists refugees selected for resettlement to complete their journeys to their new countries. In 2018, the Organization’s largest resettlement mission – in terms of the number of beneficiaries who have travelled under IOM auspices for resettlement or humanitarian admission – was Lebanon, where one in six residents is a refugee.  

“Despite the significant progress made to offer a substantial number of people the opportunity to start a new chapter of their lives, IOM remains concerned for the hundreds of thousands or more refugees and migrants in Lebanon who also need dignified solutions,” explained Fawzi Al Zioud, Head of Office for IOM Lebanon.  

In addition to traditional resettlement and humanitarian admission programmes, IOM facilitates other pathways for refugees, including family reunification and medical evacuation.  

According to UNHCR’s Global Trends Report, only 92,400 refugees were resettled globally in 2018, less than 7 per cent of those awaiting resettlement. In 2019, it is estimated that 1.4 million refugees who are currently residing in 65 refugee hosting countries worldwide will need resettlement. 

For more information, please contact Angela Wells, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 7940 35365, Email: