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UNHCR denies it is renewing residency of Syrians living in Kuwait
May 1, 2017, 5:52 pm

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kuwait has rejected social media reports that the agency was taking measures to provide or renew residency permits for Syrians in the country. UNHCR-Kuwait issued a statement on Sunday refuting misinformation regarding the powers of UNHCR and its services, including residency permits and the possibility of renewing them for members of the Syrian community in Kuwait and the lifting of fines due for some of them.

The misinformation included an invitation to members of the Syrian community to complete their paperwork with the agency at its office on May 3. The UNHCR does not have the prerogative to interfere with the work of the official bodies and their sovereign decisions in Kuwait, the agency said, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.

Decisions to issue and extend residence permits are within the powers of the executive authority in Kuwait and the agency does not have any role with the matter, the statement added.

The agency warned that there could be legal consequences for circulating or disseminating incorrect information that might mislead people and hamper its work. Details on the services provided by the UNHCR are posted on its official website and other official channels and not through social media personal accounts messages, the agency added.

The Syrian community in Kuwait is the second largest among the Arabs, after Egypt, with around 147,000 members. According to Ministry of Education figures, 57,067 Syrian students are enrolled at schools in Kuwait for the 2016-2017 academic year. The figures indicate that 3,026 study at government schools and 54,041 attend private schools.

Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas reported that around 8,000 Syrians were staying illegally in the country in December 2016. They were mainly Syrians who arrived in Kuwait on visit or family visas that expired and they did not renew them. Since the start of the armed conflict in Syria in 2011, several Kuwaiti activists have urged authorities in Kuwait to exercise leniency with the residency of Syrians, arguing the situation in their country required granting them special status.

Source: Gulf News

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