Seeking Safety, Finding Fear

Syrian Families’ Experiences of (Im)Mobility and the Implications for Children and Family Rights

Keywords: refugees, displaced persons, Syria, Lebanon, mobility, family


The war in Syria has led to a large number of Syrian families fleeing to neighboring countries, including Lebanon. Per capita, Lebanon has taken in more refugees than any other country in the world. Despite a shared history of taking in each other’s war-affected populations, the Government of Lebanon response has shifted from that of hospitality and protection to refusing to officially recognize displaced Syrians as refugees and imposing other restrictive policies that make everyday life a challenge for Syrian families. These actions have an impact upon the basic human rights of these families. Drawing upon data from research with 46 Syrian families, this paper will describe how Syrian family movement is restricted, identify the multiple and interrelated factors that contribute to immobility, explore how restricted mobility can compromised children, family, and human rights.