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Lebanon’s economic and social development has been undermined over recent decades by civil war, invasion, occupation, political instability and, most recently, the impact of the war in Syria.

Extreme poverty exists in a number of communities; many people living in poverty in Lebanon are often locked there by laws or structural inequalities.

Palestinian refugees

Unable to return to the homes they fled more than 60 years ago, in Lebanon they are barred from the right to work in all but the most menial of jobs, cannot access state healthcare, own land or property, and have almost no access to state education.


War and conflict have left Lebanon with a disproportionately high number of people living with a disability, yet discrimination and ignorance mean that disabled people are often marginalised from education, employment and participation in public life.

Sectarianism and conflict

Lebanon’s 15-year civil war ended in 1990, yet distrust and deep sectarianism persist. Violence and tension has increased in the country since the Syrian conflict began.

Refugees from Syria

More than a million people have fled Syria to Lebanon since 2011, increasing Lebanon’s population by a quarter. Refugees cannot access many services on the same basis as Lebanese.

We work with local Lebanese and Palestinian refugee organisations providing day-to-day support to the poorest. We are also helping these partners to campaign on issues of rights and justice, to change the laws and structures that keep people poor.

We have had notable successes in these areas – such as the passing of Law 220 that enshrined in law the rights of disabled people for the first time.

Our work in Lebanon is part of our Middle East programme, which brings together work from across the region under the themes of economic and social rights, building resilient livelihoods, and rights for all. Our Syria emergency response programme is also being implemented in Lebanon.

We want to see poor and disadvantaged people in the Middle East assert their economic and social rights so that they can overcome poverty, by participating equally in the labour force, by being fairly rewarded for their work, and by engaging as employees and citizens in more equitable societies where the social and economic rights of marginalised groups are better upheld.

We want to see a region where men and women are free from discrimination and violence, and where women can be leaders of change in their community, ably representing themselves at all levels of society.

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