Statelessness in Tripoli

Statelessness in Tripoli

18 June 2019

Siren conducted a research project in partnership with a Lebanese Civil Society Organisation (MARCH) on statelessness in Tripoli. Statelessness can be caused by the complexity of the registration process, by poverty and ignorance, by discrimination, or other reasons. Whatever its cause, statelessness has a devastating impact on people’s lives because legal papers are key to an individual’s full participation in society and a prerequisite for his/her human rights. It may even be a catalyst for anti-social behaviour all the way to radicalization.

The study was done through a qualitative and quantitative research including a broad literature review, legal assessment, key informant interviews, and a survey with a sampling methodology allowing to capture hidden populations. Stateless surveyors were included on team together with university students and researchers.

The study provides insights to help guide decision with regards to 4 aspects of work with statelessness: mapping statelessness, reducing stateless through acquisition of nationality, preventing statelessness by addressing its causes, and helping stateless people to access their rights.

Main Results

  • The study estimates around 27,000 stateless persons nationwide and 2,200 in Tripoli. This number is expected to double in the next fifteen years.
  • 67% of those individuals are born to a Lebanese father and 70% to a Lebanese mother.
  • Stateless individuals are deprived of their basic human rights.
  • However, formalities and lawsuits remain extremely lengthy, technical and expensive. As the majority of stateless persons lack the education, guidance and funds to go through such a process, cases often take years or end up being abandoned.
  • Statelessness comes with serious consequences and pushes victims to resort to fraud as a coping and survival mechanism. This is topped by constant deprivation, discrimination and marginalization which significantly increases their likelihood to engage in violence and join radical organizations.

After disseminating the report, MARCH has taken several initiatives to address the problem of stateless of Lebanese origin.