Just in-between: Informal justice on the intersection of mediation, arbitration and referral

This report draws on case studies from rural and urban areas across Lebanon to the identify ways that vulnerable individuals and families seek protection and justice. It aims to inform donors, UN agencies and practitioners about the advantages and limitations of community mediation and support as a pathway to informal justice; and to highlight the ways in which peacebuilding approaches can contribute to protection outcomes.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon, like the local Lebanese communities that host them, rely on their social networks of family, friends, employers and trusted figures in the community for solution when their rights are violated. These informal mechanisms exist both within the refugee and Lebanese communities, though they differ across locations.

While both communities prefer informal mechanisms, Syrian refugees are particularly reluctant to resort to the police and judiciary when their rights are violated. This is due to their precarious legal status in the absence of valid residency permits and irregularities in their documents, low trust in the security and judiciary systems in Lebanon, and fear of retaliation.

The findings are based on case studies from the northern Akkar region and the capital Beirut collected in 2016, as well as case studies from a pilot project that supported community mediators in Akkar and the Bekaa in 2018.