Decades of violent confrontations between Christians, Sunnis, Shi’ites, and Druze have created a politically, economically and psychologically scarred country. Today, sectarianism continues to contribute to discrimination, hatred and violence.
These tensions have worsened following the outbreak of civil war in neighbouring Syria. The huge influx of Syrian refugees, already more than one million people, has had its effects on the infrastructure, economic and security situation of the country.
Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees (mostly Sunni) reside in refugee camps in Lebanon, along with Iraqi and Sudanese refugees, all without formal citizenship. Refugee camps are considered "parallel states” and are left in the hands of armed groups who fight over control of the camps.
Growing sectarian and religious hostility, indoctrination by many political parties and, in some cases, military training, increase the risk that children and young people will be drawn into violent conflict.
Children live in constant fear of potential violence, and young people are frustrated about their situation. Hundreds of thousands of children and young people are subjected to harmful forms of labour, are exploited in various ways and experience abuse, including sexual abuse.
High levels of distrust and negative opinions about “the other” are commonplace and even furthered by political leaders, contributing to growing sectarian and religious hostility and to a self-perpetuating cycle of seemingly endless violence.
What we do
In Lebanon, War Child provides access to education and protection services for vulnerable children. War Child also works to strengthen the life skills of children and young people to help them deal with the challenges they face, as well as improve their understanding of, and attitude toward, other ethnic and religious groups in Lebanese society.
War Child Holland in Lebanon has been actively responding to the Syria emergency crisis since early 2012. Read more about our work with Syrian children.