Written statment about human rights situation in LebanonHuman Rights Council
Agenda item 3
From 28 February to 25 March 2011
Sectarianism and Inequality:
Sectarianism is a form of racism, inequality and source of wars and crises in Lebanon. Parliamentary elections, which took place in June 7, 2009 during the dangerous political and sectarian division, were a result of “The Sixties Elections Law”. That is contrary to human rights principles and citizenship and presents a fuse to ignite new civil wars.
Lebanon will remain suffering from sectarianism and probably continuous wars if the government doesn't encourage a democratic civil law that calls for equality between citizens and cease sectarianism that divides Lebanese people, contrary to all international conventions signed by Lebanon including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This aspect has always been a threat to civil peace in Lebanon, which got more evident after the security services detected a network of Israeli spy that aimed at destabilizing security and the political and economical situation.
Lebanon is still suffering from the 2006 war aftermaths that lead to the death of 1200 martyrs (most of them civilians) and injuring thousands. It has destroyed 77 bridges, 80 fuel stations, and 50 schools, demolished electricity transmission stations and Jiyyeh electric factory, damaged water systems, and wiped out ambulances and international forces locations. Israeli forces used phosphorous bombs and about 2,000,000 cluster bombs that are still terrorizing and killing citizens till today. That is against all international human rights conventions.
The Exchange process between Israel and Hezbollah on July 16, 2008 didn’t bring the case of missing Lebanese in Israeli prisons to closure. Israel is still detaining martyrs corpses in secret graves in Palestine and south Lebanon, and from these names: Yehia Al-Khaled from Kafar Hamam village, Iyad Kassir from Deir Qanoun el Naher Village, Faraj Allah Fouani from Houla village, Elias Harb from Tripoli and many others. In addition to hundreds of missing persons who were kidnapped by Israeli forces or their agents during the repeated invasions of Lebanese since 1978.We mention the following:
1- Moussa Elshiek Salman from Maarakeh village who was detained by Israeli forces on 8/6/1982. An IRCC’s delegate moved him to the Israeli Field Hospital and his fate is unknown since then.
2- Yehia Skaff from Al-Minnieh North of Lebanon was detained on 11/03/1978 but Israel is still denying his presence.
3- Ibrahim Zain El-Din, a secondary school teacher, was taken from his house on 08/10/1982 by Israeli forces and not released till today.
In addition to Mohammed Saeed el Jarar, Mohammed Hawa, Jamil Amhaz, Mohammed Ali Ghareeb,Hassan Ballout, Maher Kassir, Mohammed Ali Al-Aboush, Jammal Habal, Samir Al-kharfan, Mohammed Al-maalem, Ibrahim Nour eldin, Nizar, Yehia, Abed el-kareem Ashmar, Wafaa Jamil mouati, Ahmad Harbawy, Mohammed Faran, and the brothers Aziz, Ibrahim, Mansour, Imad Atwi, Sharbel Elkhoury, Ahmad Al-Derawi and many others.
Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims Torture is a NGO. It is an accredited member of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture (IRCT), member of the Global Network against torture-SOS in Geneva and founder of the Arab organization for the defence of the detainees. KRC is the secretariat of AMAN network, Network for the rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture in the Middle East and North Africa. It is dependent on economic support from different donors. It was founded in June 1999 as an outcome for the efforts of the follow-up committee for the support of Lebanese detainees in Israeli prisons. It was called as such after Khiam Detention Camp in Southern Lebanon that was closed on 23/5/2000
Despite its withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, Israel continues its violations. It has abducted Khalid and Ali Diab Al-Mohammad -Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed Mustafa from the Al- Wazzani village and Geryes Makhoul from Rumaysh village and detained them in a Nzalon civil prison for 2 years (2007 & 2008) and were charged of drug trafficking. Legally, those are considered as kidnapped and Israel has to hand them over to the ICRC who will return them to Lebanon where they should get a fair trial.
Rabih Mohammed Zahraa from Shebaa village was kidnapped by Israeli forces on 1/2/ 2010 and subjected to torture. Same for the shepherd Sharbel El Khoury who was kidnapped on January 12, 2011.
Rehabilitation of victims of Torture:
Thousands Lebanese victims of torture were released from Khiam detention camp and Israeli and Syrian prisons where they were subjected to multiple forms of physical and psychological torture and many of them died after their release as a result of disease related to torture. Based on KRC’s records, 225 cases out of 802 who received medical consultation in 2009 suffer from chronic diseases, hypertension, and arthritis, in addition to mental illness - memory loss, anxiety, depression and isolation in the absence of restitution process, compensation and/or apology by the perpetrators torture.
Missings in Syrian Prisons:
600 Lebanese citizens are still missing in Syrian prisons despite all release demands and the continuous sit-in of the mothers of disappeared in front of the UN House in Beirut that started on 11,4,2005 and continues till today; this humanitarian issue was handled improperly by the Lebanese and Syrian governments, and did not receive the needed attention from the international community. Both Israel and Syria deny the existence of missing in their prisons and this requires an international investigation and the formation of an international committee to uncover their fate.
The last kidnapped citizen in Lebanon was Joseph Sadar (February 2009). He was taken by force while he was on his way to work.
Detainees and missing in Libyan and Foreign prisons:
We note the disappearance of Al Imam Mousa Al-Sadr, AL-Sheikh Mohammad Yacoub and the Journalist Abbas Badr AL-Din who were kidnapped in Libya according to certain Lebanese parties.
French authorities are still detaining the Lebanese citizen George Ibrahim Abdallah since 25 years and renewed his detention although his sentence period has expired.
Kidnapping Lebanese citizens from Lebanese territory and imprisoning them in Israeli and Syrian prisons is contrary to the articles 49 and 76 of the Third Geneva Convention which prohibits "the arrest and transfer of individuals outside the occupied territory to the occupied areas of the State". The crime of enforced kidnapping is an intractable serious crime and Lebanon still didn't sign the International Convention for the Protection of Individuals from Enforced Disappearance.
There are many mass graves in Lebanon that hide a lot of Lebanese and Palestinian missing. These graves are from the 1975 civil war, the 1978 Israeli invasion and the Syrian tutelage over Lebanon.
Some graves were discovered but many are still unknown. The Lebanese government didn’t make any investigations with Malachite Leaders about the graves neither did it provide a security protection for them.
These graves present a humanitarian issue and the Lebanese government is expected to establish a formal committee to follow up on them, create a DNA bank and conduct anthropological and genetic analysis to determine the death cause, the victims’ identities, the individual and official responsibilities of detention, kidnapping, torture, and transmit the corpses to their families.
About 5000 Lebanese citizens and foreigners are imprisoned in Lebanese prisons distributed over Roumieh, Al Kabi, Halba, Tyre, Tibnin, Zahli, Baabda, and Nabatiyah prisons.
These prisons witnessed several rebellion incidents and escape attempts because of the dramatic health and social conditions. Based on The members of the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights’ visit to Zahle prison in 2009, "It's a prison for those who are sent to death and it doesn't fit to be an animal corral and the human being is scornful there".
Since January 2007, 28 inmates died without knowing the reasons.
Torture and ill-treatment are practiced in the General-Security and the Ministry of Defence centres, where humanitarian organizations are not allowed to enter them.
According to the minister of the Lebanese interior ministry Ziad Baroud on 20/12/2009, 63% of the inmates are not sentenced. This increases inhuman conditions, overcrowding, long investigations, and the no-action complaints as the case of the Islamist detainees.
About 250 woman inmates undergo miserable situation and 30% of them suffer from chronic diseases and are subjected to violence inside prisons.
The Lebanese government should urgently start a whole reform process for prisons and initiate building new ones.
According to the head of delegation at the International Review Session in 11/11/2010, Lebanon didn’t meet the obligations in the formation of the national preventive mechanism to monitor prisons, and did not even show its intention to form it, although it signed the OPC of the United Nations against torture on 22/12/ 2008
Foreigners’ forcible detention:
Even though Lebanon joined the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which dictates to assist the oppressed people fleeing their country because of war, it is still dealing with them as those who entered surreptitiously to its territory, and that constitutes a human rights violation. Lebanese authorities are imprisoning them for long periods in an arbitrary form of detention and they are also arbitrary deported as the case of Iraqi refugees.