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According to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices [2], Lebanon's overall human rights record is poor, and it commits serious abuses.

Contents

Torture

There are credible reports that security forces abuse detainees and, in some instances, use torture. Human rights groups report that torture is a common practice. The Government acknowledged that violent abuse usually occurred during preliminary investigations conducted at police stations or military installations, in which suspects were interrogated without an attorney. Such abuse occurred despite laws that prevented judges from accepting any confession extracted under duress.

Methods of torture reportedly included beatings and suspension by arms tied behind the back. [3] Some detainees were beaten, handcuffed, blindfolded, and forced to lie face down on the ground. One person died in custody. Local journalists and human rights organizations were not given access to the Yarze prison, which is controlled by the Ministry of Defense [4]. A French report titled Lebanon - Arbitrary detention, ill treatments and tortures in the basements of the Ministry for Defense describes exactly which methods of torture were deployed in this prison [5].

Political detainees

The authorities often detain political opponents without charge for both short and long periods of time.

After Syrian forces pulled back from Lebanon during 2005, no opposer to the Syrian Government was reported to get detained. However, pro-Syrian security generals were politically detained. For example, Former Major General Jamil al-Sayyed, Brigadier General Mustapha Hamdan, Major General Ali Hajj, and Brigadier General Raymond Azar were arrested in August 2005 at the request of German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, who headed the early stages of a U.N. investigation into the killing and implicated prominent Syrian and Lebanese figures in the assassination of Rafik Hariri. No charges were ever pressed against the four generals, later progress reports have not repeated the allegations, and the four generals were never brought to trial. Yet, they remained detained for almost four years. Some international human rights organizations had described their detention as arbitrary. [1] On April 29, 2009, following a request of prosecutor Daniel Bellemare, the tribunal ordered the immediate and unconditional release of the only four suspects arrested during the investigation, for complete absence of reliable proof against them.[2]

Internal terrorism

Political criminal and terrorist groups intimidate the population throughout the country. In 2004 one man was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen near his home, one was found dead in dubious circumstances in a detention facility, and several others were killed in car bombs. During a demonstration protesting high fuel prices, army troops opened fire on demonstrators killing 5 persons and wounding at least 17 others.

Limitations on freedom of speech

Freedom of speech and of the press are limited by the Government, particularly by detaining and charging activists critical of government policies and by intimidating journalists and broadcasters into practicing self-censorship. The Government censors television and radio broadcasts on a case-by-case basis.

There were some improvements since the withdrawal of 25,000 Syrian troops from Lebanon in April 2005 in what was dubbed the Cedar Revolution by the West. However, journalists and politicians known to be critical of Syria continue to be a target through car-bomb assassinations. Waltz With Bashir, an Israeli film that criticizes aspects of the way the Israeli army handled the 1982 Lebanon War has been banned, although the film is popular among Palestinians living in Lebanon who purchased bootleg copies.[3]

Child labor

Child labor is a problem. The minimum age for child employment is 14 years. However, 1.8 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 14 were working children, according to a report on the "State of the Children in Lebanon 2000" released by the Central Statistics Administration in 2002 in collaboration with UNICEF. Also, 90 percent of child laborers were not covered by any health insurance.

Discrimination against Palestinians

Lebanon barred Palestinian refugees from 73 job categories including professions such as medicine, law and engineering. They are not allowed to own property, and even need a special permit to leave their refugee camps. Unlike other foreigners in Lebanon, they are denied access to the Lebanese healthcare system. The Lebanese government refused to grant them work permits or permission to own land. The number of restrictions has been mounting since 1990.[4] In June 2005, however, the government of Lebanon removed some work restrictions from a few Lebanese-born Palestinians, enabling them to apply for work permits and work in the private sector.[5] In a 2007 study, Amnesty International denounced the "appalling social and economic condition" of Palestinians in Lebanon.[6]

Lebanon gave citizenship to about 50,000 Christian Palestinian refugees during the 1950s and 1960s. In the mid-1990s, about 60,000 refugees who were Shiite Muslim majority were granted citizenship. This caused a protest from Maronite authorities, leading to citizenship being given to all the Palestinian Christian refugees who were not already citizens.[7] there are about 350,000 non-citizen Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

Freedom of religion

See also

References

  1. ^ Lebanese generals ordered released by Hariri court Reuters. Apr 29, 2009
  2. ^ Order on Detained Persons Special Tribunal For Lebanon. April 29, 2009
  3. ^ Marling, William. "Why Jane Fonda Is Banned in Beirut." The Wall Street Journal. 1 May 2009. 1 May 2009.
  4. ^ Poverty trap for Palestinian refugees By Alaa Shahine. 29 March 2004 (aljazeera)
  5. ^ Lebanon permits Palestinians to work June 29, 2005 (Arabicnews)
  6. ^ Exiled and suffering: Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, 17 October 2007 web.amnesty.org
  7. ^ Simon Haddad, The Origins of Popular Opposition to Palestinian Resettlement in Lebanon, International Migration Review, Volume 38 Number 2 (Summer 2004):470-492. Also Peteet [1].

External links

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