Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah
Joined United Nations: 24 October 1945
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 07 April 2013
4,140,289 (July 2012 est.)
Deputy Prime Minister since 7 July 2011
President elected by the National Assembly for a six-year term (may
not serve consecutive terms); election last held 25 May 2008
Next scheduled election: 2014
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister appointed by the
president in consultation with the National Assembly; by
agreement, the president is a Maronite Christian, the prime
minister is a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of the National
Assembly is a Shi'a Muslim
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%
note: many Christian Lebanese do not identify themselves as Arab but rather as descendants of the ancient Canaanites and prefer
to be called Phoenicians
Muslim 59.7% (Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri), Christian 39% (Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Melkite
Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Chaldean, Assyrian, Copt,
Protestant), other 1.3%
note: 17 religious sects recognized
Republic with 8 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Legal system is a mixture of Ottoman law, canon law, Napoleonic
code, and civil law; no judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Executive: President elected by the National Assembly for a six-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 25
May 2008 (next to be held in 2014); the prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president in consultation with
the National Assembly
Legislative: Unicameral National Assembly or Majlis Alnuwab (Arabic) or Assemblee Nationale (French) (128 seats; members
elected by popular vote on the basis of sectarian proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held in four rounds on 7 June 2009 (next to be held on June 2013)
Judicial: four Courts of Cassation (three courts for civil and commercial cases and one court for criminal cases); Constitutional
Council (called for in Ta'if Accord - rules on constitutionality of laws); Supreme Council (hears charges against the president and
prime minister as needed)
Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
The earliest known settlements in Lebanon date back to earlier than 5000 BC. Archaeologists have discovered in Byblos, which is
believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, remnants of prehistoric huts with crushed limestone floors,
primitive weapons, and burial jars which are evidence of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic fishing communities who lived on the shore
of the Mediterranean Sea over 7,000 years ago. The coastal plain of Lebanon is the historic home of a string of coastal trading cities
of Semitic culture, which the Greeks termed Phoenicia, whose maritime culture flourished there for more than 2,000 years (c. 2700–
450 BCE). It was added to the empire of Alexander the Great, who notably conquered Tyre (332 BCE) by extending a still-extant
causeway from the mainland in a seven-month effort. The area was conquered by the Roman Empire in the first century and
remained Roman until the advent of the Caliphate. Christianity was introduced to Phoenicia from neighboring Galilee soon after the
time of Jesus of Nazareth; the Arab advances brought Islam soon after the death of Muhammad. Muslim influence increased greatly
in the seventh century when the Umayyad capital was established at nearby Damascus. During the Middle Ages, Lebanon was
heavily involved in the Crusades. Lebanon was in the main path of the First Crusade's advance on Jerusalem. Later, Frankish nobles
occupied present-day Lebanon as part of the southeastern Crusader States. The southern half of present-day Lebanon formed the
northern march of the Kingdom of Jerusalem; the northern half was the heartland of the County of Tripoli. Although Saladin
eliminated Christian control of the Holy Land around 1190, the Crusader states in Lebanon and Syria were better defended.
Muslim control of Lebanon was reestablished in the late 13th century under the Mamluk sultans of Egypt. The Maan family, under
orders from the governor of Damascus, came to Lebanon in 1120 won against the invading Crusaders. They settled on the
southwestern slopes of the Lebanon Mountains and soon adopted the Druze religion. Their authority began to rise with Fakhr ad
Din I, who was permitted by Ottoman authorities to organize his own army, and reached its peak with Fakhr ad Din II (1570-
1635). The Ottoman Turks formed an empire starting from the 14th century which came to encompass the Balkans, Middle east
and North Africa. The Ottoman sultan, Selim I (1516-20), after defeating the Persians, conquered the Mamluks. His troops,
invading Syria, destroyed Mamluk resistance in 1516 at Marj Dabaq, north of Aleppo. The Shihabs succeeded the Maans in 1697.
They originally lived in the Hawran region of southwestern Syria and settled in Wadi at Taim in southern Lebanon. The most
prominent among them was Bashir II, who was much like his predecessor, Fakhr ad Din II. His ability as a statesman was first
tested in 1799, when Napoleon besieged Acre, a well-fortified coastal city in Palestine, about forty kilometers south of Tyre. Both
Napoleon and Al Jazzar, the governor of Acre, requested assistance from the Shihab leader; Bashir, however, remained neutral,
declining to assist either combatant. Unable to conquer Acre, Napoleon returned to Egypt, and the death of Al Jazzar in 1804
removed Bashir's principal opponent in the area. In 1788 Bashir Shihab II (sometimes spelled Bachir in French sources) would rise
to become the Emir. Born into poverty, he was elected emir upon the abdication of his predecessor, and would rule under Ottoman
suzerainty, being appointed wali or governor of Mt Lebanon, the Biqa valley and Jabal Amil. Together this is about two thirds of
modern day Lebanon. Bashir II, who had come to power through local politics and nearly fallen from power because of his
increasing detachment from them, reached out for allies, allies who looked on the entire area as “the Orient” and who could provide
trade, weapons and money, without requiring fealty and without, it seemed, being drawn into endless internal squabbles. He
disarmed the Druze and allied with France, governing in the name of the Egyptian Pasha Muhammad Ali, who entered Lebanon and
formally took overlordship in 1832. In 1860, this would boil back into full scale sectarian war, when the Maronites began openly
opposing the power of the Ottoman Empire.In July of 1860, with European intervention threatening, the Turkish government tried to
quiet the strife, but Napoleon III of France sent 7,000 troops to Beirut and helped impose a partition: The remainder of the 19th
century saw a relative period of stability, as Islamic, Druze and Maronite groups focused on economic and cultural development
which saw the founding of the American University of Beirut and a flowering of literary and political activity associated with the
attempts to liberalize the Ottoman Empire. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the League of Nations
mandated the five provinces that make up present-day Lebanon to the direct control of France. Initially the division of the Arab
speaking areas of the Ottoman empire were to be divided by the Sykes-Picot Agreement, however, the final disposition was at the
San Remo conference of 1920, whose determinations on the mandates, their boundaries, purposes and organization was ratified by
the League in 1921 and put into effect in 1922. Lebanon gained independence in 1943, while France was occupied by Germany.
General Henri Dentz, the Vichy High Commissioner for Syria and Lebanon, played a major role in the independence of both
nations. The Vichy authorities in 1941 allowed Germany to move aircraft and supplies through Syria to Iraq where they were used
against British forces. Britain, fearing that Nazi Germany would gain full control of Lebanon and Syria by pressure on the weak
Vichy government, sent its army into Syria and Lebanon. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Lebanon
became home to more than 110,000 Palestinian refugees after being expelled from the newly formed Israel and Jordan, where King
Hussein saw them as a threat to the stability of his kingdom. More Palestinians found their way to Lebanon than to any other Arab
country. During the 1960s, Lebanon enjoyed a period of relative calm, with Beirut-focused tourism and banking sector-driven
prosperity. For its part, the PLO used its new privileges to establish an effective "mini-state" in southern Lebanon, and to ramp up
its attacks on settlements in northern Israel. The Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990) had its origin in the conflicts and political
compromises of Lebanon's colonial period and was exacerbated by the nation's changing demographic trends. Intense attacks
against U.S. and Western interests, including two truck bombings of the US Embassy in 1983 and 1984 and the landmark attacks
on the U.S. Marine and French parachute regiment barracks on October 23, 1983, led to an American withdrawal, while the virtual
collapse of the Lebanese Army in February 1984 was a major blow to the government. The last of the Westerners kidnapped by
Hezbollah during the mid-1980s were released in May 1992. Since the end of the war, the Lebanese have conducted several
elections, most of the militias have been weakened or disbanded, and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have extended central
government authority over about two-thirds of the country. Only Hezbollah retained its weapons, and was supported by Lebanon's
parliament in doing so, because it was defending Lebanon against the ongoing Israeli occupation of almost one-quarter of the
country. That occupation finally ended in 2000. On February 14, 2005, former Prime Minister Hariri was assassinated in a car-
bomb attack which killed 16 and wounded 100. This was a second car-bomb assassination of a Lebanese Parliament member that
opposed Syria in a four month period. On April 26, 2005, the last 250 Syrian troops left Lebanon. The 2006 Lebanon War,
known in Lebanon as the July War, started on 12 July 2006, and continued until a United Nations-brokered ceasefire went into
effect on 14 August 2006. In May 2007, militants in the Nahr al Bared Palestinian refugee camp outside of Tripoli, allied with Al
Qaeda began a struggle against government forces located outside of the camp. Lebanese politicians in November 2007 were
unable to agree on a successor to Emile LAHUD when he stepped down as president, creating a political vacuum until the election
of Army Commander Michel SULAYMAN in May 2008 and the formation of a new cabinet in July 2008. February 14, 2009
marked the fourth anniversary of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's assassination. Estimated to be more than 1 million supporters, pro-
government and pro-Hariri citizens of different sects and factions gathered together in Beirut for the occasion. At 12:55 pm, the
crowd went silent to mark the exact moment of the explosion that killed Hariri. Despite initial enthusiasm, the turn-out on the fifth
anniversary of Hariri's assassination (February 14, 2010) was hindered due to heavy rain. The sixth anniversary of Hariri's
assassination, on February the 14th 2011, was met with renewed enthusiasm by supporters of the March 14 coalition. This was
especially fueled by the protesters' anger over the resignation of all ten ministers aligned with the opposing March 8 coalition due to
then-Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Rafik Hariri's son, refusal of Hezbollah's demand he reject the Special Tribunal For Lebanon. A
rally was also organized to call for Hezbollah's disarmament on the day of March 13 in Beirut's Martyrs' Square. No significant
disruptions took place. Lebanon has been threatened by the revolt in neighboring Syria. In February 2012 clashes erupted between
supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad in northern Lebanon. Officials said the supporters consisted of Iranian-
sponsored Hizbullah operatives as well as Syrian Alawite laborers who have long lived in Lebanon. Sectarian clashes as a result of
the Syrian conflict led to the eventual collapse of the Labanese government. Following the resignation of Prime Minister Najib
MIQATI and his Cabinet on 22 March 2013, the government reverted to caretaker status until a new prime minister is named and a
new cabinet is formed. On 6 April 2013 former culture minister Tammam Salam was elected Prime Minister and tasked to form a
Source: Wikipedia: History of Lebanon
Lebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. The government does not restrict foreign
investment; however, the investment climate suffers from red tape, corruption, arbitrary licensing decisions, complex customs
procedures, high taxes, tariffs, and fees, archaic legislation, and weak intellectual property rights. The Lebanese economy is
service-oriented; main growth sectors include banking and tourism. The 1975-90 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon's economic
infrastructure, cut national output by half, and derailed Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub. Following
the civil war Lebanon rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily - mostly from domestic
banks - saddling the government with a huge debt burden. Pledges of economic and financial reforms made at separate international
donor conferences during the 2000s have mostly gone unfulfilled, including those made during the Paris III Donor Conference in
2007 following the July 2006 war. The collapse of the government in early 2011 over its backing of the Special Tribunal for
Lebanon and unrest in neighboring Syria slowed economic growth to 1.5% after four years of 8% average growth. In September
2011 the Cabinet endorsed a bill that would provide $1.2 billion in funding to improve Lebanon's downtrodden electricity sector,
but fiscal limitations will test the government's ability to invest in other areas, such as water.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Lebanon)
Lebanese political institutions often play a secondary role to highly confessionalized personality-based politics. Powerful families also
still play an independent role in mobilizing votes for both local and parliamentary elections. Nonetheless, a lively panoply of domestic
political parties, some even predating independence, exists. The largest are all confessional based. The Free Patriotic Movement,
although secular, represents the most the Christians. The Kataeb Party, also known as the Phalange Party, the National Bloc,
National Liberal Party, Lebanese Forces and the Guardians of the Cedars (now outlawed) have their own base among Christians.
Amal and Hezbollah are the main rivals for the organized Shi'a vote, and the PSP (Progressive Socialist Party) is the leading Druze
party. While Shi'a and Druze parties command fierce loyalty to their leaderships, there is more factional infighting among many of the
Christian parties. Sunni parties have not been the standard vehicle for launching political candidates, and tend to focus across
Lebanon's borders on issues that are important to the community at large. Lebanon's Sunni parties include the Future Movement,
Independent Nasserist Organization (INO), the Tawhid (Lebanon), and Ahbash. In addition to domestic parties, there are branches
of pan-Arab secular parties (Ba'ath parties, socialist and communist parties) that were active in the 1960s and throughout the period
of civil war. The last parliamentary election was in 2009. The Parliament, in turn, elects a President every 6 years to a single term.
The President is not eligible for re-election. The last presidential election was in 2008. The president and parliament choose the
There are differences both between and among Muslim and Christian parties regarding the role of religion in state affairs. There is a
very high degree of political activism among religious leaders across the sectarian spectrum. The interplay for position and power
among the religious, political, and party leaders and groups produces a political tapestry of extraordinary complexity.
In the past, the system worked to produce a viable democracy. Events over the last decade and long-term demographic trends,
however, have upset the delicate Muslim-Christian-Druze balance and resulted in greater segregation across the social spectrum.
Over the course of the 2011-2012 Syrian uprising, fissures started to grow in Lebanon as March 14 parties supported the
opposition in Syria and March 8 parties were ostensibly supportive of the Syrian government, particularly in the early stages, and
faced accusation from the opposition and its affiliated media of kowtowing to the Syrian government. As the conflict started to spill
over into Lebanon, both via refugees and Lebanon's own diverse demographics that are broadly reflective of Syria's own diversity,
tensions started to grow. A spate of sectarian kidnappings and threats followed, some of which turned fatal. Following the
resignation of Prime Minister Najib MIQATI and his Cabinet on 22 March 2013, the government reverted to caretaker status until
a new prime minister is named and a new cabinet is formed. On 6 April 2013 former culture minister Tammam Salam was elected
Prime Minister and tasked to form a new government.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Lebanon
Lacking a treaty or other documentation describing the boundary, portions of the Lebanon-Syria boundary are unclear with several
sections in dispute; since 2000, Lebanon has claimed Shab'a Farms area in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights; the roughly
2,000-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has been in place since 1978
Refugees (country of origin): 436,154 (Palestinian refugees (UNRWA)); 210,398 (Syria); 9,056 (Iraq) (2012)
IDPs: at least 47,000 (1975-90 civil war, Israeli military activity, 2007 destruction of Palestinian refugee camp) (2011)
Cannabis cultivation dramatically reduced to 2,500 hectares in 2002 despite continued significant cannabis consumption; opium
poppy cultivation minimal; small amounts of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin transit country on way to
European markets and for Middle Eastern consumption; money laundering of drug proceeds fuels concern that extremists are
benefiting from drug trafficking.
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 Human Rights Report: Lebanon
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012
Lebanon is a parliamentary republic, with a constitutionally mandated Maronite Christian president, Sunni Muslim prime minister, and
Shia Muslim speaker of the chamber of deputies. Parliamentary elections in 2009 were considered free and fair. Government security
forces reported to civilian authorities, although the terrorist group Hizballah and Palestinian security and militia forces were outside the
direction of government officials.
The main human rights abuses reported during this year included limitations on freedom of movement for some refugees, and poor
prison and detention conditions sometimes involving torture. Detainees faced substandard prison conditions, lengthy pretrial detention,
and long delays in the court system.
Other human rights abuses included killings related to societal violence; reports of disappearances and harassment of Syrian political
activists; arbitrary arrest and detention of individuals; violation of citizens’ privacy rights; restrictions on freedoms of speech and press,
including intimidation of journalists; official corruption and lack of transparency; societal, legal, and economic discrimination against
women; widespread domestic violence; trafficking in persons; systematic discrimination against Palestinian refugees and minority
groups; restricted labor rights for and abuse of migrant domestic workers; and child labor.
Although the legal structure provided for prosecution and punishment, government officials enjoyed a measure of de facto impunity for
human rights violations.
Despite the presence of Lebanese and UN security forces, Hizballah retained significant influence over parts of the country, and the
government made no tangible progress toward disbanding and disarming armed militia groups, including Hizballah. Palestinian refugee
camps continued to act as self-governed entities and maintained security and militia forces not under the direction of government
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Lebanon: UN expert on slavery urges authorities to investigate the suicide of a migrant domestic worker
GENEVA (3 April 2012)
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Gulnara Shahinian, urged the Government of Lebanon to
carry out a full investigation into the death of Alem Dechasa, a 33-year-old Ethiopian migrant domestic worker who committed suicide
on Wednesday 14 March 2012, a few days after she was seen been beaten by men and dragged into a car in the Lebanese capital.
These acts of abuse caught on video* and posted on a social media websites, show the victim shouting and struggling to resist a man
dragging and forcing her into a car as bystanders stood by.
“Like many people around the world I watched the video of the physical abuse of Alem Dechasa on a Beirut street,” said the UN expert
monitoring contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences. “I strongly urge the Lebanese authorities to carry out
a full investigation into the circumstances leading to her death. I also express my deepest condolences to Ms. Dechasa’s family and
“The cruel image on the website reminded me of the many migrant women workers I met in Lebanon during my official visit to the
country last year,” she said. “Women who had been victims of domestic servitude told me they had been under the absolute control of
their employers through economic exploitation and suffered physical, psychological and sexual abuse.”
At the end of her visit to Lebanon in October 2011, Ms. Shahinian urged the Government to enact legislation to protect the some
200,000 domestic workers in the country, indicating that without legal protection some of them would end up living in domestic
servitude. “Migrant domestic workers in Lebanon, the majority of whom are women, are legally invisible,” she said at the time. “That
makes them acutely vulnerable.”
“There are a number of reports circulating about the human rights violations Alem Dechasa experienced as a migrant domestic worker in
Lebanon and the facts surrounding her death,” Ms. Shahinian said. “States are under an obligation to ensure the realization of the right to
truth about violations in order to end impunity and promote and protect human rights and provide redress to victims and their families.”
Other UN independent human rights experts also expressed their condemnation of the physical abuse of Ms. Dechasa. Special
Rapporteurs François Crépeau (migrants), Rashida Manjoo (violence against women), Joy Ngozi Ezeilo (trafficking in persons), and
Juan E. Méndez (torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment), together with Kamala Chandrakirana (Working
Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice), urged the Government of Lebanon to carry out a full investigation and
make public the results of such an investigation.
Ms. Gulnara Shahinian was appointed as the first Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, its causes and consequences in
May 2008. She is a lawyer with extensive experience as an expert consultant for various UN, EU, Council of Europe, OSCE and
government bodies on children’s rights, gender, migration and trafficking. Ms Shahinian is also a former trustee of the UN Voluntary
Trust Fund on Contemporary forms of Slavery.
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Freedom In The World 2012 Report
Political Rights Score: 5
Civil Liberties Score: 4
Status: Partly Free
After 11 ministers stepped down in January 2011 to protest a UN tribunal’s indictment of five Hezbollah members for the 2005
assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, Najib Miqati was named as the new prime minister. The nomination, backed by
Hezbollah, triggered protests and related violence, but Miqati eventually formed a cabinet in June. Also during the year, a civil conflict in
neighboring Syria led refugees and defecting soldiers to cross into Lebanon. The government arbitrarily detained a number of Syrian
refugees, worked to silence those calling for democracy in Syria, and intimidated human rights activists who criticized the security
The regional and international climate produced a rapprochement between Hariri’s unity government and both Syria and Iran in late 2009
and 2010. Political leaders of all persuasions tried to calm the public mood after it became clear that the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon
(STL) was investigating Hezbollah members suspected of involvement in the 2005 assassination of Rafiq Hariri, threatening the tenuous
2009 power-sharing agreement. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah pledged to resist the STL, accused Israel of Hariri’s murder, and
effectively prevented security forces from executing an arrest warrant for a general previously accused in the case. To avoid political
and sectarian fighting, political leaders chose which candidates would run in the 2010 municipal elections, effectively deciding the
outcome well in advance of the balloting.
Eleven ministers allied with Hezbollah resigned in January 2011 to protest the STL’s indictment of Hezbollah members in the Hariri case
and Saad Hariri’s refusal to end the government’s cooperation with the tribunal. The government collapsed, and Najib Miqati, backed by
Hezbollah, was named as the new prime minister. The move spurred protests across the country, which continued periodically until
June. The protests in May and June in particular included violent interfactional clashes between pro- and anti-Syrian demonstrators. The
Lebanese military response to these protests included door-to-door raids in search of those they suspected of firing shots. Miqati did not
announce a new cabinet until June, and the result was a deeply divided governing body. Despite his apparently close ties to Hezbollah,
Miqati affirmed in November that his government would contribute its share of the funding for the STL.
Tensions with Israel increased in 2011 due to a maritime border dispute in which the rights to offshore natural gas reserves were at
stake. Meanwhile, the internal conflict in Syria spilled over into Lebanon late in the year. Syrian forces allegedly crossed the border to
capture or kill fleeing military defectors and refugees on a number of occasions, and there were reports of landmines being placed along
Lebanon is not an electoral democracy. Although the 2009 parliamentary elections were conducted peacefully and judged to be free and
fair in some respects, vote buying was reported to be rampant, and the electoral framework retained a number of fundamental structural
flaws linked to the country’s sectarian political system.
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19 October 2012
Lebanon: Indiscriminate bomb attack in busy residential area of Beirut
A large explosion reportedly from a car bomb attack in the busy Ashrafiya residential district in downtown Beirut killed at least eight
people and wounded dozens more on Friday.
Among those reportedly killed was Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan, the head of the information branch at Lebanon’s internal
security – but numerous bystanders are also believed to be among the dead and wounded.
Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director said:
“Today’s attack which killed at least eight people and injured scores of residents in a bustling area of downtown Beirut and was an
indiscriminate attack that should be condemned in the strongest terms.
“That it happened during rush hour in a busy residential area meant it put the lives of many people, including children, in danger.”
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the government was trying to identify the perpetrators and said they would be punished.
“The Lebanese authorities must carry out a thorough investigation into who was behind the attack and ensure those responsible are
brought to justice in trials that meet international fair trial standards, without recourse to the death penalty.”
Wissam al-Hassan led investigations into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005. He was part of the
anti-Syrian political movement the Future Movement. Internal Security Forces foiled an assassination attempt on al-Hassan's life in early
The Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi has also condemned the attack, calling it a "cowardly terrorist act".
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Lebanon: Investigate and Punish Army Attacks on Migrants
Soldiers Accused of Beating Dozens of Syrian, Egyptian, and Sudanese migrants
October 10, 2012
(Beirut) – Lebanon’s judiciary should investigate and prosecute any army and intelligence officials responsible for the beating and serious
abuse of at least 72 male migrant workers on the evening of October 7 in the Beirut neighborhood of Geitawi, Human Rights Watch said
today. According to victims and other witnesses, those beaten include at least 45 Syrian, 20 Egyptians, and 7 Sudanese migrant workers.
Human Rights Watch met with 25 men, all migrants, who all said they were beaten severely. Almost all had severe bruises consistent
with their statements. According to the men, uniformed members of the Lebanese army barged into the rooms where they lived and
proceeded to viciously kick and beat them, before asking any questions. One man was picked up off the street while walking home. The
soldiers, some reportedly wearing shirts labeled “Army Intelligence,” did not interrogate them about any specific incident or crime, but
accused them of “harassing women.”
“By engaging in such a nasty and possibly xenophobic attack against migrants, these soldiers acted more like a gang than a national
institution,” said Nadim Houry, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch.
All those Human Rights Watch interviewed said they had valid residency papers in Lebanon.
The army left four hours after the beating and abuse. It is not clear whether the army detained any of the migrants. None of those
interviewed knew of any arrest, but local residents told Human Rights Watch that they saw a group of seven migrants, their faces
covered, sitting inside a military jeep. Lebanese neighbors of the migrants confirmed their accounts of the army assaults and said that
they had not had any problems with the workers, some of whom have lived in Beirut’s Geitawi neighborhood for years.
The Lebanese army has not issued any statement about the attacks.
“Lebanon’s army is not above the law and the judiciary needs to immediately investigate this attack and hold those responsible to
account,” said Houry.
This is not the first recent attack on migrants by soldiers. On October 1, soldiers rounded up migrants from another part of Achrafieh,
according to local residents who saw them storm a construction site where migrants worked and slept and heard screams from the
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Address by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Lebanon General Michel Sleiman before the Diplomatic Corps on
the occasion of the New Year greetings
Unlike the previous four years, the past year has included some chapters which were tainted by some tension and violence. At the same
time, it has featured some positions and activities which showed the capacity of the Lebanese to converge and adhere to refined frames
of consensus and regularity, should they set their minds on it.
Despite these promising visions and the agreement they have gathered around them, the reality that You are aware of and that You have
pointed out, is that the Lebanese are still undergoing the repercussions of the assassination of martyr General Wissam El Hassan and the
uncertainties and questions raised by this terrorist act. The Lebanese also fear the fallout of the lingering Syrian crisis and the increase of
the numbers of Syrian refugees on their territory. They look anxiously at the political crisis that the country is going through, the
difficulty to resume the works of the National Dialogue Committee, and the escalating livelihood crisis.
As the new year seems full of challenges, the State will have to strive, at all levels, to raise these challenges, and it will deal with them as
a priority matter, in the following directions and fields:
1- To maintain the consultation with all the parties in order to find practical solutions and approaches to get out of the current political
2- To keep on driving the political parties back to the table of dialogue, in order to discuss the pressing issues that require the highest
level of national consensus at this critical stage that Lebanon and its neighborhood are going through.
3- To continue to call on all the parties not to get involved in the logic of regional violence and foreign interests, whether out of factional
sympathy or out of subordination.
4- To move on with the preparations for the parliamentary elections based on our commitment to our democratic tradition and to the
principle of periodic and peaceful alternation of power, within the regulations of Lebanon’s consensual democracy. As for the electoral
law according to which these elections will be held, as long as we are determined to hold them and in the presence of a draft law based
on proportionality submitted by the government in this respect, the plea is to start debating this bill and introducing the necessary
amendments thereto, if need be, without moving away from the spirit of the Constitution, and while remaining in line with the role of
Lebanon, not only as a country but as a message.
5- To dedicate a special effort, as per the government’s recent commitment, to face the security, economic and social challenge
represented by the steady and unprecedented increase in the numbers of incoming Syrian refugees.
6- To follow up the citizens’ economic and social situation as well as their livelihood affairs, in view of re-launching the economic cycle
as a better option than sectorial and circumstantial remedies; and to work on spreading a political and security atmosphere that allows the
return of tourists, Arab brothers, investors and emigrants to Lebanon.
7- To move forward on the preparations for the exploration and extraction of the oil and gas wealth, after the governing body has been
formed and the decrees that allow the call for tenders according to a specific timetable, without linking our economy in the foreseeable
future to this investment activity which is expected in the medium and long terms.
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TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE
Mediation, time and inconvenience
The law on the establishment of an Ombudsman was passed February 4, 2005 ... ten days before the assassination of Rafik Hariri. Its
enforcement decree was never signed. Review of the issue with the French advocate, Dominique Baudis, Centre Professional Mediation
Ombudsman. It is through this obscure term that began designate, in the Nordic countries of Europe, a mediator appointed by the
government, whose task, objective, impartial and noble, is to resolve conflicts that arise between currents individuals and the
administration, due to some malfunction. Conflicts irritants citizens and seemingly intractable due to bureaucratic obstruction which they
An example from France: the tickets for speeding motorists who reach long after they had sold their cars. Through the investigation by
the Office of Ombudsman, we discover the reason for this failure: the PV are addressed to the previous owner as the deed has not been
recorded on the computer mechanical service. This service responds positively to the information and decides to accept the date of the
deed and not the recording. With the result that the total elimination of these difficulties repetitive.
Today, the French mediator, as political authority, struggling against a new version of this frustration with the multiplication of France
false registration plates, but that is another story. Other examples include discrimination in employment, control "facies", or access to
housing for the elderly, refused because their pensions are "not seizable", etc..
The Professional Centre Mediation Université Saint-Joseph received Monday Dominique Baudis, named in 2011 French advocate, a title
which replaces the mediator, by which he was known before. Rights defender combines all the attributes of the various institutions of
mediation of the French Republic. Its scope of work covers both effect relationship for Administration (Ombudsman "classic")
that children's rights, discrimination of all kinds, including racial and ethically by the police, including private police. But the name does
not matter, the function is the same. It would even tend to regret the mediator, more elegant.
Dominique Baudis is not a stranger to the Lebanese. The former mayor and MEP began his career in radio and television in Lebanon. He
kept the articulation and clarity of thought. Since then he has made his way into the first great television journalism, then as elected. He
was appointed in 2011 to advocate a term of 6 years. Friend of Lebanon and Vocational Centre Mediation USJ led by Joanna Bourgély
Hawari, a mediator is a title that does not disdain.
Restricted, organized in the warm dining Joseph Zaarour campus humanities, the meeting was not less highly significant. It gathered
around Dominique Baudis, the Minister of Justice, Shakib Cortbaoui an elected MP Walid el-Khoury, Ambassador of Switzerland, Ruth
Flint, the French Cooperation Attaché, Gilles Thuaudet, the second counselor Embassy of France, Céline Place Ambassador Patrice Paoli
representative, as well as lawyers, jurists, the rector of the USJ, Professor Selim Daccache sj, teachers, researchers and leading media
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Lebanon: Human Rights Organizations Demand the Lebanese authorities to put an end to Security Agencies' violations
18 October 2012
Illegal and racist practices against foreign workers or refugees in Lebanon are on the rise. The latest example in this regard took place on
the evening of 7 October as members of the Lebanese Army raided the homes of 70 Syrian, Egyptian and Sudanese workers in Beirut in
response to a complaint by some residents against these workers of "harassing the girls and disturbing the residents". The workers were
beaten during the raid.
Assaulting individuals and their privacy is totally unacceptable regardless of whether it was done by nationals or foreigners. Those
attacked have the right to seek recourse with the competent public authority to stop the attack and prosecute the perpetrators. However,
acting outside the rule of law or demonstrating an exaggerated form of reaction is unacceptable – whether it involved nationals or
foreigners. Use of force by security forces is not admissible unless there was an extraordinary and exceptional necessity to do so – such
as violent resistance or attacks on the security forces and public safety that cannot be stopped save through the use of force as long as it
proportionate with the act or risk at hand. We express our concern that such an incident might have been prompted by the fact that the
"defendants" are foreigners who are looked down upon and suffer marginalization and lack of protection.
By all means, what has taken place is to be regarded as a human rights violation, for such a case involves the following inherent
I. Lodging a complaint against some individuals who might have disturbed the residents does not mean that all members of the group the
defendants belong to should be targeted with punishment, or any foreign worker who might have been present in the area at the time of
the raid. The way the assault took place conveys a sense of xenophobia, including the content of the statement released by the
Orientation Directorate at the Lebanese Army that emphasized "the continuation of raids and investigations in areas suspected of
harbouring workers of various nationalities who abuse citizens and violate their privacy".
II. the competent authority to conduct investigation in alleged crimes is the "judiciary police" as duly mandated and supervised by the
judiciary. The Judiciary police may – in exceptional and emergency circumstances – ask for the support of the Lebanese Army; yet we
do not see in the said incident any political or security-based justification for the Army to intervene.
III. the fact that the security forces have the duty to stop "abuses against citizens and violation of their privacy" should not give them the
right to punish the perpetrators, otherwise these forces would be acting as if they have issued a final judgement or ruling against the
perpetrators and enforced the punishment whereas the only entity that has the right to issue and enforce the rulings and sentences is the
judiciary. The latter acts after concluding a professional forensic investigation, and receiving a judicial ruling duly issued in the name of
the Lebanese people.
IV. the two statements released by the Orientation Directorate-Lebanese Army signal a serious twofold dilemma; firstly, a violation of
delegated powers and launching military and security operations without referring to the law or competent political and judicial authorities
– a serious issue indeed that can only take place under totalitarian regimes where the rule of law is absent. Secondly, the xenophobic
attitude that permeates the statements, including the one released on 11 October in which the Lebanese Army called upon "all those who
suffer abuses of any kind to contact the security and military forces that can act swiftly and conclusively to stop such abuses" and
emphasized that it will continue to conduct its security operations to attend to "citizens interests" – disregarding thus the role of the
The undersigned organizations denounce such infringement upon the safety and freedom of individuals, and demand that the executive
authorities that oversee the security forces and Lebanese army to live up to their responsibility to provide protection for citizens and
foreign nationals alike against any attacks.
We also demand that the judiciary intervene to put an end to such practices, promptly open an investigation into the events of 7 October
and penalize all violators and perpetrators regardless of the agency they are affiliated with – including the security and military forces.
We also call upon all authorities to uphold and respect the Lebanese Constitution and Lebanon's obligations under the international
standards as well as its local laws – particularly the right to personal and physical safety, the principle of all is equal before the law, the
right to enjoy all rights and obligations with no discrimination on the basis of colour, race, ethnicity, political opinion or any other
considerations for that matter. We also call for the respect of the principles of accountability and separation of powers, and those
enshrined in the UN convention against torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane or humiliating treatment or punishment.ublicized on
TV and in newspapers, and activists plan to lobby government for anti-harassment legislation.
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President since 25 May 2008
Prime Minister since 6 April 2013