Resettling hope: expectations versus reality approach to the resettlement in Belgium of Syrian refugees from Lebanon

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Coquelet, Danaé
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According to UNHCR, resettlement is one of the only three durable solutions for refugees. Despite the importance of this practice, little literature offers an in-depth analysis of its inherent challenges. Evidence shows that one of them is the existence of a gap between expectations in the pre-resettlement phase and reality in the post-resettlement phase. This Master’s thesis therefore aims at shedding light on the resettlement practices of the State of Belgium in Lebanon from this particular perspective. Since 2013, Belgium has regularly carried out selection missions with the view to resettling Syrian refugees from Lebanon (SRL). The goal of the research is to highlight the root causes of the gap between their pre-resettlement expectations and their post-resettlement reality. It examines to what extent three factors – the individual factor, the legal factor and the socio-political factor – contribute to widening it. To this end, both qualitative and quantitative methods of research were used: 291 SRL were surveyed in Lebanon and a series of semi-structured interviews were conducted in Belgium with five resettlement actors (UNHCR, Fedasil, CGRS, Convivial, and Caritas) and ten resettled SRL. The thesis concludes that the root cause of the discrepancy is both individual and legal in nature: SRL develop unrealistic expectations, mostly due to a lack of knowledge about UNHCR’s scheme, and show low levels of satisfaction with the host country because the latter fails to acknowledge their vulnerability and adopt a human rights approach to resettlement.
Second semester University: Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Saint Joseph University of Beirut.
refugees, Syria, Lebanon, Belgium, relocation