ANNUAL REPORT – ALPHA has just released its 2015 Annual Report. This year’s report highlights the association’s continued growth and ability to find, fund and shape innovative projects that benefit the most needed communities in Lebanon and Syria. Click on the link just under the cover to discover our work :
APPEL – Bonjour a vous tous, amis d’Alpha, les anciens … les nouveaux a venir …les amis d’amis …
Oui, encore une fois, il faut le dire au plus grand nombre… a l’oreille de chacun de vous et de vous a vos amis et connaissances …et d’elles aux leurs ….étendre l’appel au plus loin possible car l’urgence s’intensifie mais pas les financements des bailleurs.
Plus que jamais Alpha, pour continuer son action, a besoin de votre soutien financier … chaque petit sou compte ….pour rien de moins que sauver des vies, des familles… depuis 5 ans déjà … Et c est toujours et encore l’urgence… hier les assiégés de Madaya , aujourd’hui les déplacés d’Alep…et bientôt les assiégés d’Alep …
Les objectifs d’Alpha sont toujours aussi impératifs et cruciaux : permettre aux acteurs sur place … les Syriens encore vaillants en Syrie, de fournir aux déplacés de quoi survivre : les nourrir, les abriter, les soigner …et …autre aspect de l’action d’Alpha : mobiliser les ONGs internationales et tous les bailleurs de fonds possibles en informant, expliquant, signalant, alarmant, criant au secours …de plus en plus fort tant dans la multitude des problèmes qui ébranlent le monde , l’Europe , la France, chacun de nous, il est difficile de se faire entendre …et de relayer les cris d’agonie des Syriens.. Non je n’exagère pas !!
Aux infos … une opération militaire en suit une autre … et s égrène le bilan des morts … c est la routine ici « c est l’usine » : des déplacés … des blessés.. des handicapés ….des malades ….des millions et des milliers…
Chaque don c’est avoir moins faim, avoir moins froid, pouvoir se laver un peu, intervenir médicalement en urgence pour échapper à la mort … NON , IL N’Y A PAS A HESITER…
En pièces jointes un mot sur Alpha pour ceux qui ne connaissent pas, les mots de son Président dans un récent interview, qui vigoureusement trace à grands traits la réalité de l’action humanitaire…pour se faire une idée…
Tous ensemble … vous et nous… et bien d’autres ….travaillons pour réduire tant que faire se peut les drames d’aujourd’hui et de demain …. Mais aussi ce faisant nous travaillons à la construction d’après- demain ….Alpha, en plus de l’aide en urgence, aide ses acteurs qui, chaque jour , sur les lieux de guerre les moins à vif, agissent et en même temps, apprennent, s’organisent , se forment… et réalisent des programmes psychosociaux et d’éducation……les forces vives de la société civile renaissante … des forces vives qui pour une part sont acculées à fuir pour des raisons de sécurité ou à cause du risque d’embrigadement forcé … C’est un des challenges d’Alpha que de sans cesse reprendre de zéro les formations des nouveaux volontaires qui reprennent le flambeau…
Nous vous remercions très chaleureusement de vos dons, vos questions, vos remarques, vos suggestions.
Une Association des Amis d’Alpha a été créée en Europe à laquelle adresser vos dons plus facilement afin d’éviter les couts exorbitants des virements ou d’encaissement de chèques au Liban.
Mais Attention : La justification de vos dons ne doit pas mentionner l’aide aux Syriens ou aux Refugiés, mais de façon générale, les populations, les enfants pauvres, en grande précarité, les handicapés… afin d’échapper au rejet des systèmes bancaires .
Stitching “ Friends of Alpha”
BIC-code/Swift-code of the ING bank is: INGBNL2A (but inside the EU this BIC-code is often not needed).
N’hésitez pas lire et partagerle dernier article de notre président, le père Albert Abi Azar, article Faim et Développement magazine.
2015 BROCHURE – Check out our new brochure to introduce our work ! On this page you can view and download ALPHA’s brochure in the language of your choice, Arabic, English or French :
Special thanks go to our beloved designer Ola zeineddine (info@TBDworks.com) and to all our teams.
Feel free to share !
SADAD/SYRIA – On Saturday, 31st October, 2015, ISIS militia, after they took the city of Maheen, attacked the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and National Defence Force Syria (NDA) mountain position which over-looks the village of Sadad. Two car-bombs were used followed by land offensive,10 fighters were reportedly killed on the government side.
The capture of Maheen, in the central Homs province, and the push towards the majority-Christian town of Sadad, points out a new advance of the Islamic State group. Maheen is a strategic town located 25 kilometers east of the highway that links Homs to Damascus. This move could allow ISIS greater mobility throughout Syria. The town also houses a large military complex and arms depots.
In the past 24 hours, fighting has also reached the outskirts of Sadad. This town is home to 15,000 people, mostly Syriac Orthodox and Assyrian Christians (the ancient language of Aramaic is still spoken there), and has 14 churches and a monastery. Earlier in October 2013, Sadad’s civilians paid a heavy price for intense fighting between government and opposition forces. Driven by fear of new clashes, between the evening of Saturday, 31st October and Sunday, 1st November, almost the entire population of the city left. Some of them went to Damascus, others to Homs, and the majority have reached Zeidal and Feiruzeh (see map).
Currently, around 10,000 internally displaced persons are assumed to be in need of food, blankets and mattresses. While individuals are in need of medical attention, especially those with chronic diseases, it seems that there is no public health facility in close vicinity to the newly displaced population. ALPHA in partnership with the Syriac Orthodox Archidiocese of Homs, Hama and dependencies, is calling on the international community for immediate action and support.
PALESTINIAN REFUGEES FROM SYRIA – Since 2011, an estimated 45,000 Palestinians Refugees (PRS) who are fleeing the violence in Syria have arrived in Lebanon, the largest influx arriving in 2013 as the crisis intensified. The current situation echo’s the exile of their parent’s generation; Palestinian families are being forced to flee for the second time since 1948. Palestinians had built a vibrant community in Syria, where they were granted rights to work, own businesses and access civil services. They now find themselves in significantly worse living circumstances. Lebanon’s generosity and limited resources continue to be stretched as the country struggles to host refugees from Syria who now account for a quarter of the country’s population (1.1 million source-UNHCR). PRS are a particularly vulnerable sub-population who are subject to a number of unique discriminatory laws.
The United Nations Response
The United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNWRA) is the UN agency that is mandated to provide assistance to Palestinians refugees. On this premise, PRS are denied registration with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that is granted to other refugees from Syria. Detrimentally, UNWRA’s mandate does not provide urgent aid and assistance. Despite persistent efforts, UNWRA is unable to providea level of assistance to PRS that UNHCR grant the wider Syrian refugee population. Furthermore, UNRWA’s resources have been so heavily exhausted that the housing assistance (US 100 per family) ceased in April 2015. At least 90% of PRS in Lebanon rely on UNRWA assistance as their primary source of income. UNWRA are unable to continue to meet the basic human needs of this population. UNRWA will continue to provide US27 per person for food assistance, however, many families cannot afford the transport costs to collect these modest entitlements. An increasing number of families are now relying on the generosity of other poor refugee families to sustain them.
No Legal Status
PRS have separate visa requirements and further restrictions have been placed on them since May 2014. Although only 3% entered the country irregularly, the majority of PRS now exist without valid legal status. The complexities and costs of renewing their ‘papers’ are prohibitive to the majority of families. As a result, the population is acutely vulnerable and without basic social protection. Many reported that their mobility is severely affected due to a fear of arrest, detention and deportation, some are too afraid to leave the camps. Furthermore, without civil registration, Palestinians from Syria are unable to register births, deaths and marriages, leaving a whole generation without legal documentation of their existence.
Perhaps the biggest concern for PRS is lack of appropriate housing. Severe overcrowding is an issue with 74% of households accommodating more than 10 people. In some instances, there are upwards of 20 people living in a room. A third of families are unable to afford basic necessities such as water, electricity and gas. The high cost of rent has exhausted their savings and is driving more and more families into homelessness and the pre-existing Palestinian camps across Lebanon.
Prior to the Syrian crisis there were upwards of 260,000 longstanding Palestinian refugees living in 12 refugee camps across Lebanon. Therecent arrival ofPRS in these camps is placing further strain and tension on the existing population,who were already suffering from high rates of poverty, overcrowding and unemployment.
The Right to Work
There are severe limitations on employment for Palestinians in Lebanon, they are denied the right to work in some 25 professions and are restricted from owning their own businesses. Only 8% PRS have employment. Harsh restrictions on the job market further marginalise this already vulnerable community.
Education is Key
Children who fled Syria have been witness to horrific violence and are suffering from untreated psychological trauma thataffects their ability to successfully engage in education. The differences in the Lebanese school curriculum also impacts on the refugee children’s ability to integrate into Lebanese schools, for example, math and science are taught in Arabic in Syria and English in Lebanon. 40% of PRS children between the ages of 6 and 18 have discontinued their education and 74% of families have at least one child who is not in education. In some cases, children are forced into early employment in order to help support their families to meet their basic needs such as shelter and food.
Health & Food Security
There is a severe lack of food and hunger has become a major issue. A common practice is for parents to go for days without food so that their children may eat. A Palestinian refugee at Nahr El Bared camp describes the situation like this ‘For$10 in Syria, I could feed my whole family of eight for the whole day. In Lebanon, it is barely enough for a meal’.
The few health care providers that assist PRS are overwhelmed with the increase in demand. Deteriorating health conditions areprevalent amongst PRS. 50% of families have a seriously injured or sick person and 1 in 10 families count a family member with a disability. Furthermore, 47% have at least one member suffering from a chronic illness.
A Call for Help
ALPHA Association calls on the Lebanese Government, The United Nations and the International community to respond to this crisis and to ensure that PRS do not become the forgotten victims of the Syrian war. This sub- population has received much less international attention than the wider Syrian refugee population. PRS are acutely vulnerable and the international donor community mustmobilise resources to respond to this humanitarian emergency. With further cuts to UNWRA’s cash assistance to PRS families their situation is becoming increasingly volatile. PRS require an urgent injection of funds in order to secure their basic needs and provide them with the means to live a life of dignity amongst the turmoil and uncertainty of yet another displacement.
By Leila Wheib, October 2015
Picture : http://nna-leb.gov.lb/ – Palestinian refugees in Tyre protest UNRWA decision to postpone school year – Aug 2015
UNICEF – ALPHA participated in “The United Nations World Day” celebrating the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations under the auspices of the governor of Nabatiyeh Judge Mahmoud Mawla in Jaber Cultural Center of Nabatiyeh.
The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Mrs. Sigrid Kaag and the representatives of many MPs attended the ceremony as well as many presidents of local municipalities and mayors.
Kids from ALPHA with the cooperation of Zoukak presented a play called “In 30 Years” where they imagined the future of their countries and their wishes and hopes.
In 30 years, I imagine myself in a beautiful city.
In 30 years, I love to stay beside my family.
In 30 years, I love to go back to Syria.
In 30 years, I hope to become a doctor to help people.
In 30 years, I hope to become a nurse.
Women from ALPHA also had an exhibition during the ceremony.
URGENT ACTION – Around 150 Syrian refugees are being held in a camp in Osmaniye province, close to the Syrian border. They are at risk of being returned to Syria by the Turkish authorities. A smaller group of Iraqi refugees were released from the camp on condition that they return to Iraq within a month. The refugees were travelling to Greece in a boat that sunk on 15 September leaving at least 22 dead, including children.
The 150 Syrian refugees formed part of a group of over 250 refugees from Syria and Iraq who were on a boat crossing from Bodrum, in western Turkey, to the Greek island of Kos on 15 September. The refugees reported that the Turkish coastguard fired several shots at their boat, which then sank. The Turkish coastguard confirms 249 refugees were rescued and 22 bodies recovered, including children. Most of the refugees where first held in or around Bodrum, then transferred to a camp in Düziçi, Osmaniye province, on 17 September. They were transferred against their will and were not told where they were going. There could be up to 700 refugees in the Düziçi camp.
According to the Syrian refugees held in the camp, the authorities told them that they will be kept in the camp unless they agree to be returned to Syria, using the border crossings of Bab al-Hawa or Bab al-Salam. The crossings are under control of armed groups responsible for human rights abuses. Refugees in the camp also reported that most of the Iraqi refugees have been released, on condition that they return to Iraq within a month. The refugees reported having been told to sign documents in Turkish, which they could not understand. Amnesty International spoke to one Iraqi refugee who has returned to Iraq and is currently in hiding, fearing for his life.
Due to the ongoing conflicts in both Syria and Iraq, neither group of refugees should be forcibly returned to their countries where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations or abuses. This is known as the principle of non-refoulement. The principle of non-refoulement applies to situations of generalized violence due to armed conflict (such as is happening in Iraq and Syria) and is binding on all states. Furthermore forcing refugees to return to their country of origin, with the threat of indefinite detention, would also amount to refoulement.
Holding refugees in a camp they cannot leave amounts to detention. Any measure that restricts the right to liberty of refugees and asylum-seekers must only be in exceptional circumstances and based on individual assessment. In this case, the detention appears to be arbitrary and thus prohibited under international human rights law.
Please write immediately in Turkish or your own language:
– Calling on the Minister of Interior to immediately halt returns of refugees to Syria or Iraq;
– Urging the Minister of Interior to release the remaining refugees, grant the Syrian refugees temporary protection status and enable refugees from other countries to lodge asylum claims in line with Turkey’s Law on Foreigners and International Protection;
– Calling on the Minister of Justice to ensure that a prompt, independent and impartial investigation is carried out into the circumstances of the capture of the refugees’ boat on 15 September by the Turkish coastguard during which at least 22 refugees died after the boat sank.
More info on the petition here:
Right to seek asylum
The right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution is a fundamental human right. It is enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and protected by the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention), which Turkey has ratified. Amnesty International considers Iraq and Syria as countries where individuals would face a real risk of serious human rights violations or abuses upon return.
Ban on refoulement
The cornerstone of the international refugee protection system is the principle of non-refoulement. This principle prohibits the transfer of anyone in any manner whatsoever to a place where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations – as is the case for individuals from Syria. It has been codified in the Refugee Convention and numerous international human rights instruments binding on Turkey. A breach of this principle can occur in a variety of ways, including directly through forcible returns to the country of origin, or indirectly through denying access to territory or to a fair and satisfactory asylum procedure. It can also occur indirectly when pressure is exerted on refugees to return to a place where their lives or freedoms are at risk – this is known as constructive refoulement, and is prohibited under international law binding on Turkey.
Ban on arbitrary detention
Arbitrary detention is prohibited under international law. It has been codified in Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Turkey has ratified. The notion of “arbitrariness” should not be understood narrowly, but must be interpreted broadly to include elements of inappropriateness, injustice, lack of predictability, and due process of law, as well as elements of reasonableness, necessity, and proportionality. Furthermore, the ancient principle of habeas corpus, as set out for instance in ICCPR Art 9(4), entitles anyone who is deprived of liberty to take proceedings before a court, in order that the court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of the detention and order release if the detention is not lawful.
HEALTH CARE – Médecins du Monde, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, International Medical Corps, AUB, the UNHCR and OCHA just released an interesting survey on Syrian refugee and Affected Host Population Health Access in Lebanon. This report is a precious tool for assessing the current situation.
Read online this Health Access Survey in Lebanon
OUR COOPERATION WITH MEDECINS DU MONDE
Since 2013, ALPHA is working in partnership with Médecins du Monde mainly in Syria supporting local Primary Health Care Centres. Médecins du Monde, a campaigning medical organization committed to international solidarity, has been caring for the most vulnerable populations at home and abroad. It has continued to highlight obstacles that exist in accessing health care and has secured sustainable improvements in health-for-all policies. Those working for this independent organisation do not solely dispense care and treatment but condemn violations of human dignity and rights and fight to improve matters for populations living in precarious situations.
SUMMER ACTIVITIES – Since one month, ALPHA South desk is organizing summer activities for the 2000 children welcomed all year round within its educational centers. Children have the opportunity to play educational games as well as collective sport games. “It is really important, they need to clear their minds and spend their energy” shares Salma Fawaz, south desk director. Yesterday, in Tibnin Forest, a race (1.3 km) gathered 300 kids. After the race, youth were invited to do something for the environment. To make it a lot more fun and exciting, ALPHA turned the waste collection into a “treasure hunt”. But a scavenger hunt requires a list of treasures such as water bottles, candy or snack wrappers, soda can or juice boxes ! Congratulations to all participants !
LEBANESE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION – On Thursday August 7, 2015, ALPHA South desk welcomed Mrs Ban Khalife from the Ministry of Education. As part of an ongoing three day assessment on priority education needs, Mrs Khalife, field coordinator, came to meet Syrian families. Together they shared some challenges of daily life : the distances children have to travel to school, the cost of transportation, the languages taught, the need to send their children out to work and bring home money…Nevertheless, despite the difficulties, families stressed on their will to encourage and registrate their kids to school. ALPHA as an important partner of UNICEF – “Back to Learning” project implemented over the three caza of Tyr, Bent Jbeil and Marjayoun – assists in that encouragement.