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Lebanon

    August 27, 2019

    Responding to an official communication obtained by Amnesty International that the Lebanese authorities forcibly deported almost 2,500 Syrian refugees back to Syria in the past three months, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf, said:

    “We urge the Lebanese authorities to stop these deportations as a matter of urgency, and the Higher Defense Council to cancel its related decision.

    “As long as independent monitoring bodies are not allowed access to Syria - including the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria – in order to assess the security situation for the safe return of refugees, there is no way of determining whether returnees would be at real risk of serious human rights violations once back in Syria.

    “Such access and monitoring mechanism inside Syria would be a first step in setting the process for returns. In the meantime, while risks upon return cannot be determined, any attempts to forcibly return refugees is a clear violation of Lebanon’s non-refoulement obligations.

    June 12, 2019

    An attack which forced hundreds of Syrian refugees to leave Deir al-Ahmar, an informal camp in the Bekaa valley, last week is a clear example of the escalating hostility which is driving many refugees to leave Lebanon and return to Syria despite ongoing violations of international humanitarian law there, Amnesty International said today.

    Since July 2018 the Lebanese authorities have been arranging returns of refugees to Syria, claiming these returns are wholly voluntary. However, Amnesty International’s analysis shows that people are being pushed back to Syria through a combination of restrictive government policies, dire humanitarian conditions and rampant discrimination.

    April 12, 2019

    Update: On 12 April 2019, a Lebanese military court transferred Ziad Itani’s torture complaint to a civilian court. According to article 15 of the Lebanese Code of Criminal Procedure, offenses committed by judicial police officers while performing their duties falls under the jurisdiction of ordinary civilian courts. Lebanon’s anti-torture law specifies that the public prosecutor should refer torture cases to ordinary courts within 48 hours.

    Itani Case Shouldn’t Be Heard by Military Courts

    March 12, 2019

    One year after Lebanese actor Ziad Itani was released from detention, he is no closer to getting justice for the appalling torture he was subjected to in prison, Amnesty International said today.

    On 13 March 2018 a military court acquitted Ziad Itani of charges of spying for Israel and released him. He had spent three and a half months in detention, on the basis of trumped-up charges. During the trial, Itani reported being held in solitary confinement, subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while in detention, and denied access to legal counsel. The Military court failed to act on these reports.

    In mid-November 2018, Itani filed a civil lawsuit against officers and civilian assistants, but the State Prosecutor referred the case to the Military Prosecutor, even though both international and domestic law would require such reports to be investigated within the civilian criminal justice system.

    February 11, 2019
    Full statement here and video

    With the newly formed Lebanese government setting its agenda focused on the economy and the fight against corruption, the authorities must prioritize human rights and address the issues that are essential to ensuring a more just and equitable future for the people in the country, said Amnesty International.

    “For too long, people have suffered the consequences of political deadlock and a lack of accountability, which in turn have contributed to ongoing violations of human rights, including the economic and social rights of the vast majority of the population,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research.

    November 13, 2018

    Responding to the Lebanese parliamentary vote approving a bill to address the issue of the missing and disappeared in Lebanon, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's Middle East research director, said:

    “Today’s vote brings long overdue national acknowledgment of the plight of the thousands of relatives of people who went missing or were forcibly disappeared during the 1975-1990 armed conflict in Lebanon.

    “Since the mid-1980s, relatives have relentlessly raised their voice despite the fear of repercussions from armed groups and foreign military forces involved in these violations. They have faced physical harassment, and perhaps most painfully, societal isolation, but continued with one, unique demand: ‘We want to know’.

    “This law, which was initially presented by civil society organizations following two years of consultations, is a major step towards the creation of a national commission. With a mandate to investigate individual cases, locate and exhume mass graves and enable a tracing process which will finally provide closure to the families.

    May 17, 2018

    The Lebanese authorities’ disruption of activities planned for Beirut Pride Week is an outrageous attempt to deny the human rights of LGBTI people, Amnesty International said today. The authorities cancelled events within the program launched to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), and briefly arrested Beirut Pride Week’s organizer Hadi Damien.

    “The shutdown of Beirut Pride and the arrest of Hadi Damien is a blatant case of state harassment. The Lebanese authorities must stop cancelling events to celebrate LGBTI rights, and ensure freedom of expression and assembly for the LGBTI community.

    “They must also stop arresting those perceived to be LGBTI, and drop charges and release those who have been arrested under the draconian legislation of Article 534. Activists have been bravely struggling to repeal this legislation for over a decade. We hope that the newly-elected members of parliament will recognize this struggle, and move forward with finally repealing it.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    July 25, 2017
      The Lebanese authorities must disclose the full findings of their investigation into the deaths of four Syrian refugees, said Amnesty International, after the country’s military prosecutor yesterday revealed that a forensic report concluded that they had died of “natural causes”. The men died after they were arrested in a military raid on the town of Arsal on 30 June 2017.   Forensic analysis of photographs showing the bodies of three of the four deceased men, commissioned by Amnesty International, reveals signs of recent beatings and trauma to the head, legs and arms suggesting they may have been tortured. “It is extremely important for the full findings of the forensic report commissioned by the military prosecutor to be made public and accessible to the lawyers and families of the victims,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.  
    July 18, 2017
      Responding to a statement by Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri announcing an imminent security operation in the outskirts of the town of Arsal, in northeast Lebanon, Lynn Maalouf, Middle-East Director of Research for Amnesty International said:   “It is of utmost importance for the Lebanese army and other sides involved in the fighting in Arsal to prioritize the protection of Lebanese residents as well as Syrian refugees in the area. They must refrain from using lethal force except when it is unavoidable for self-defence or defence of others against threats of death and serious injury. Thousands of lives are on the line.   “Syrian refugees in Arsal are living in extremely harsh conditions in packed tented settlements. The Lebanese army must ensure that the operation is carried out in a manner that protects the right to life and other human rights. Use of explosive weapons in these circumstances would be contrary to Lebanon’s obligations under international law and likely to lead to arbitrary deaths.  
    April 18, 2017

    Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, blogs from Beirut, Lebanon. Follow Salil on Twitter @SalilShetty

    At a time of extreme contestation of what constitutes truth, and an era where “fake news” is almost celebrated, the rule of law based on real evidence is more essential than ever.

    International human rights law and humanitarian law are long-established standards and norms, and are critical to be able to distinguish right from wrong.

    Human rights give us a framework to interpret and describe why what we see is wrong. And they give us a legal architecture to hold governments to account and demand change.

    And what is the alternative to addressing the massive challenges the world faces without international solidarity and accountability, without a shared commitment to uphold the equal and inalienable rights of every person?

    February 02, 2016
    Many refugee women from Syria tell us they don’t feel safe in Lebanon. Here are four reasons why, and three possible solutions. 1. Women are doubly at risk: both as refugees, and because of their gender
    January 08, 2016

    More than 100 Syrian refugees have been forcibly returned to Syria by the Lebanese authorities today, Amnesty International has learned.  Around 150 others are still stranded at Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport and are at risk of imminent deportation in the coming hours. The authorities are reportedly planning to force them to leave on the next flight at 9:30pm local time.

    The refugees had arrived in Beirut on flights from Syria with the intention of travelling on to Turkey. They were due to depart on 7 January but were unable to leave as two Turkish Airlines flights were cancelled ahead of new visa regulations for Syrian refugees imposed by the Turkish authorities that came into force today restricting access to the country.

    November 24, 2015

    What is it like to be a refugee in Lebanon? The answer you'll get will be different depending on whether you speak to a women, girl, man, or boy. 

    Early marriage and street harassment are just a few of the serious issues uniquely faced by refugee women and girls in Lebanon. And because of legal restrictions imposed on Syrian refugees by the Lebanese government, many refugee women and girls feel unable to report threats, harassment, or violence to the police. Refugee women and girls living in Lebanon, especially those in women-led households, are at risk of experiencing human rights abuses.

    As part of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, Amnesty International is sharing the stories of two refugee women living in Lebanon. 

    Learn more and take action today! 

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