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Christian Emigration Report: Lebanon and Syria

4. The role of the church
In Syria, the life of the Sudanese is easier than in Lebanon because they have access to public schools and medical care. The Salisian Sisters have created sessions on computer programs adapted for the children who have trouble in school or for those who do not speak Arabic well. Thirty children are enrolled in this program now, which will allow them to integrate regular schools after those sessions without facing problems. They follow English, Arabic and mathematics lessons five days a week for four hours per day. The Sisters also provide them with catechetical lessons in their own language every Friday. Last June, roughly 20 children were baptized in this church. On the other hand, at Bab Touma, the Fransiscan Sisters of Mary provide them with food and medication during the first five months of their arrival. They also assist in job searches. The church helps them to emigrate to Nambia, the only country that receives them now.


The causes of emigration from Syria are many, but can be summarized as follows:

  1. Poverty related to low income and unavailability of job opportunities are a major factor.
  2. The governing regime leaves very little room for human rights and liberties.

According to a specialist, “the major reason for immigration is economic, however ordinary people are divided. Some believe that living as a Christian minority among a Muslim majority is unbearable and the only solution is to immigrate to a ‘Christian country.’ Others believe that co-living with the Muslims is a fact – it has been this way historically but the minority is more affected if the community is affected.”

  1. The last decade had witnessed a large-scale movement of Syrian workers to Lebanon. Their number varies depending on the party collecting the information and the purpose of the exercise; however, the figure varies between 300,000 and 500,000. Syrian workers have easy access to Lebanon and do not require any legal document to live or work in Lebanon.
  2. Immigration among the Christians who came recently to Syria such as Armenians, Assyrians and Syrians, is much higher than the original number of Christians in Syria.
  3. Families, mainly Christians, immigrate to Syria not to settle and live in the country, but rather to obtain a visa or emigration to the United States, Europe and Australia.
  4. Current numbers of Syrian emigration to other parts of the world were quoted in a recent report of the ESCWA as an average of 719 persons per year, based on the information of the Syrian Ministry of Planning.
  5. According to ESCWA, the percentage of emigration from Syria is lower than from the surrounding Arab countries, i.e., 0.01% compared to 0.89% in Iraq and 1.61% in Palestine.

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