Claims that some refugees are militants 'impossible to prove'

Claims that some refugees are militants 'impossible to prove'
The United Nations' refugee agency has denounced comments made by a Lebanese minister who claimed that one in 50 refugees could be a member of the Islamic State group.
2 min read
16 September, 2015
David Cameron met with refugees in Lebanon who will resettle in Britain [Getty]

The UN Refugee Agency has denounced comments made by a Lebanese minister who claimed that one in 50 refugees could be a member of the Islamic State group.

Education Minister, Elias Bou Saab's comments came during British Prime Minister David Cameron's recent visit to Lebanon and Jordan, where the UK premier discussed the Syrian refugee crisis.

Saab warned that the small figure was “more than enough” of a cause for concern.

"I don't have any information. My gut feeling is yes they [Islamic State group] are facilitating such an operation. You may have, let's say, two percent that are radicals. That is more than enough” the Lebanese minister said.

The arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants so far this year has taken the EU by surprise and it has been criticised for responding slowly.

More than 430,000 people have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean this year, according to data from the International Organisation for Migration, with more than 2,700 losing their lives. 

However, the warning by Saab that IS fighters are “hiding among refugees” cannot be legitimately proven, the UN Refugee Agency has stressed.

"This kind of statement is extremely unhelpful," a spokeswoman for the agency said. 

"A refugee has a genuine fear of persecution, if you have any military connection at all then you lose your status as refugee. There are over a million Syrians in Lebanon there is no legitimate way of providing figures like that," she said.