Lebanon: Beirut and Mount Lebanon Governorates Profile (May 2016)

GENERAL OVERVIEW

The Governorates of Beirut and Mount Lebanon together comprise half of the Lebanese population-- over 2 million people. The governorates are largely urban and peri-urban. However, the sizeable area encompassed by Mount Lebanon includes some remote and rural areas. Arabic, English, and French are widely spoken in these governorates. Beirut is the administrative and economic capital of the country hosting central government institutions, including the line ministries and the General Security Office. The capital hosts over 305,000 refugees; nearly 9,000 refugees live in one informal settlement, one Palestine refugee camp and three Palestinian gatherings located in the capital. Lebanon also hosts around 250,000 migrant domestic workers, primarily from East Asia and Africa, the majority of whom live in Beirut. Mount Lebanon is a peri-urban/rural area that stretches across nearly 2,000 km2. The governorate is divided into six districts, namely: Baabda, Aley, Metn, Keserwan, Chouf and Jbeil. Mount Lebanon hosts one-quarter of all persons identified as deprived as a result of poverty or displacement in Lebanon.

BACKGROUND & CONTEXT (JULY 2015 - MAY 2016)

There have been increased reports of arrests of extremists, raids of sex trafficking rings, and protests over the persisting garbage crisis now entering its tenth month. The security situation in the governorates of Mount Lebanon and Beirut is relatively stable, but is subject to rapid change, notably in the latter. Beirut governorate has remained relatively stable, yet the threat of attack or instability as a result of spill-over from the conflict in Syria, inter alia, persists. Since the beginning of this year, there have been multiple arrests of alleged extremist threats in Beirut, following the November 2015 ISIS attacks in city’s southern suburbs. There has also been a number of arrests related to sex trafficking in greater Beirut in the last four months including the March 2016 raid of the Jounieh trafficking ring that rescued some 75 girls from forced prostitution, and the April 2016 raid of the Khaldeh sex trafficking ring. Stability is duly being undermined by the persistent trash crisis which began in Lebanon in the summer of 2015 and which has not been fully resolved to date. A significant number of protests have been organized this year to contest the trash crisis; demonstrations have been largely peaceful.

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