Lebanon hosts an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, the highest number per capita in the world. Yet they face a range of human rights challenges including restrictions on legal residency, access to work, education, and healthcare. Bassam Khawaja, Human Rights Watch’s Lebanon researcher, will discuss the crisis in Lebanon and the role of human rights organizations in humanitarian emergencies.
Bassam Khawaja is the Lebanon and Kuwait researcher in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) division at Human Rights Watch. He was previously the Leonard H. Sandler Fellow in the children’s rights division, where he researched barriers to education for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Bassam conducted legal research and advocacy on US targeted killings and drone strikes in the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic. He previously interned with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Beirut, the New York Legal Aid Society Immigration Unit, The Advocates for Human Rights, and with Human Rights Watch in the MENA Division and the International Justice Program. He received a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College and a law degree from Columbia University, where he was a James Kent Scholar and Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.