Annual Report: Lebanon 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Lebanon 2013

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Impunity – enforced disappearances and abductions

The fate of thousands who were abducted, detained or went missing during and after Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, including many said to have been taken to Syria, mostly remained unresolved. A draft decree proposed by the Minister of Justice to establish an Independent National Commission to investigate the fate of the disappeared and missing was widely criticized and had not been enacted by the end of the year. The release of Yacoub Chamoun from a Syrian prison almost 27 years after he went missing gave hope to families of the disappeared that some of their loved ones may still be alive.

Women's rights

Women continued to face discrimination in law and practice. A draft law to allow Lebanese women married to foreign nationals to pass on their nationality to their children, as Lebanese men can do, was discussed by the Cabinet, although not enacted. Parliament continued to discuss a draft law against domestic violence.

Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants

Thousands of Palestinian refugees, long-term residents in Lebanon, continued to be excluded by law from working in certain professions and accessing other rights available to Lebanese citizens.

Tens of thousands of refugees from Syria fled across the border to Lebanon, increasing pressure on Lebanon's housing, education, health and other resources. UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, was aware of over 170,000 refugees from Syria in Lebanon by the end of the year, although the true figure was likely to be much higher. Most were in northern Lebanon and the Bekaa valley area. Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria faced discriminatory entry requirements imposed by the Lebanese authorities. Lebanon had not ratified the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or its 1967 Protocol.

Some refugees, asylum-seekers and migrant workers said they were ill-treated by the security forces, in particular during arrest and detention, which in some cases were carried out arbitrarily or during raids in their neighbourhoods or work places. They included around 70 mostly Syrian, Egyptian and Sudanese migrant workers who alleged that they were beaten by soldiers in October during a raid on Beirut's Geitawi district.

Women foreign nationals employed as domestic workers under the official sponsorship scheme remained vulnerable to abuse by employers.

  • UN human rights experts called for an investigation into the suicide in March of an Ethiopian woman after the alleged owner of her employment agency was filmed dragging her and forcing her into his car to prevent her entering the Ethiopian Consulate in Beirut.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

LGBTI people faced discrimination and abuse.

  • In July, 36 men arrested at a film show were forcibly subjected to rectal examinations to determine whether they had engaged in anal sex. Following this, the national medical association advised all doctors to refuse to participate in such abusive examinations or they would face disciplinary measures.

Death penalty

At least nine death sentences were imposed; no executions had been carried out since 2004. The proposed National Human Rights Action Plan suggested substituting life imprisonment for the death penalty in all relevant Lebanese laws.

  • At least five men were sentenced to death for spying for Israel.
  • In April, a military judge requested the death penalty for 26 men after charging them with abducting and detaining a group of Estonian nationals in 2011. The trial was continuing at the end of the year.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited Lebanon in May, August/September and November/December to conduct human rights research, including into the situation in Syria.