Information on the Lebanese community, the attitude of the authorities and native people towards Colombians of Lebanese origin and the protection available to them [COL25028.E]

The following information was provided to the DIRB in a 12 September 1996 telephone interview with the manager of the Colombo-Lebanese Club of Bogotá, a social club for Colombians of Lebanese origin that has 168 members (socios).

According to the source, the Lebanese community has been present in Colombia for more than a century and is very well-integrated into society. The largest community of Lebanese people live in Bogotá, but Lebanese communities can be found everywhere in Colombia. The source mentioned that Lebanese people in Colombia are known for their successes in commerce and business in general. They have a reputation for being hard workers. The source reported that she was not aware of any particular problems between the Lebanese community and the police, indigenous people or the authorities at large. She characterized relations between the Lebanese community and the authorities as good and peaceful.

The following information was provided by the Lebanese ambassador to Colombia in Bogotá during a 13 September 1996 telephone interview with the DIRB. The ambassador estimated the number of Colombians of Lebanese origin to be around 50,000 nationwide. The source mentioned that the Lebanese reside in all parts of the country but are most concentrated in the Atlantic coast region in the towns of Cartagena and Baranquilla. The source reported that the first Lebanese immigrants established themselves in Colombia around 1860. Further waves of immigration from Lebanon followed during the 20th century, the most recent one being the arrival of around 1000 people between 1989 and 1996. The ambassador mentioned that Colombia does not impose visa requirements on Lebanese immigrants.

The source also stated that the Lebanese are most involved in the industrial and commercial fields, and some have even chosen politics with some success. For example, Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala, a Colombian of Lebanese origin was president from 1978 to 1982. The ambassador stated that Lebanese immigrants have been welcomed by Colombians and have completely integrated into Colombian society. The ambassador described their relations with the authorities, police and indigenous people as "harmonious and free of any problems."

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted for this Response to Information Request.


Club Colombo-Lebanese, Bogotá. 12 September 1996. Telephone interview with the director.

Embassy of Lebanon, Bogotá. 13 September 1996. Telephone interview with the ambassador.


The Lebanese in the World: A Century of Emigration. 1992. Edited by Albert Hourani and Nadim Shehadi. London: IB Tauris, pp. 361-377.

Additional Sources Consulted

Amnesty International Report. Yearly. New York: Amnesty International.

Andean Newsletter [Lima]. Weekly.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Yearly. U.S. Department of State. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Ethnic Preference and Public Policy in Developing States. 1986. Boulder, Col.: Lynne Rienner.

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. Weekly.

Lettre du Groupement pour le droit des minorités. Monthly.

Minority Peoples in the Age of Nation-States. 1989. London: Pluto Press.

Minority Rights Group International. Various dates. London: Minority Rights Group International.

The Minority Rights Group Reports. Various dates.

World Directory of Minorities. 1990. London: Minority Rights Groups International.

World Minorities in the Eighties. 1980. London: Quartermaine House.

Oral sources.