Human Rights in Lebanon

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 Lebanon is a country that has survived a very long civil war, from 1975 till the early 90s, and seen several occupations, the last being removed only in 2005. This long period of unrest has made many victims, physically, psychologically and mentally. The scars of the war haven’t disappeared yet, and are still present in many faces of the society.

Following a long period where priorities lied in survival, human rights were not given the least of importance, easing the path for torture and inhuman behavior.

Even though Lebanon has signed and ratified most UN human rights treaties, some with  reservations, especially CEDAW and CAT, the international treaties, once ratified by the parliament, should be in principle automatically incorporated into the national legal system and as such should be able to be directly invoked by citizens in court. However, they are in practice not, or incompletely, integrated into national legislation and rarely applied or known by the judiciary. Some official government bodies and international and civil society organizations are working on the reform of human rights, but there is still plenty to be done, actively on the ground as well as behind curtains, to shape modern human-respecting laws and to assist disfavored persons.

The era when persons were arrested, tortured, then summarily sentenced and sent to prisons is still fresh in many families memories, especially the ones whose family members did indeed suffer such events, or those who still have family members behind bars.

Until now, torture is not criminalized in Lebanese domestic legislation:  There are frequent allegations of torture practiced by the Internal Security Forces (ISF) against arrested persons, including but not limited to illegal migrants and sex workers. Torture is also been routinely practiced by military intelligence against the Palestine refugee population and by members of the Drug Repression Bureau against drug addicts. Torture is used as a way to extract information but sometimes turns into a perceived tool for deterrence and collective punishment, with the implicit consent of the authorities.

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 NGOs in Lebanon
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