Lebanese human rights action plan moves closer to realization

Despite successive political crises over the past five years, the Lebanese Parliament’s Human Rights Committee has nearly completed a draft national strategy on human rights, in cooperation with the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This according to MP Ghassan Moukheiber, Rapporteur of the Parliamentiary Human Rights Committee in Lebanon, in a statement marking Human Rights Day in December.

Launching of the first draft of the national action plan action for human rights.  © Credit OHCHR PhotoMoukheiber explained that the national strategy consisted of pinning down executive and legal procedures to enhance human rights in Lebanon. “We also need to identify the state of human rights in Lebanon in relation to laws, practices, and the Constitution, as well as the Human Rights Charter.”

“Prison conditions, fair trials, media freedoms, privacy policies, wiretapping, women and children’s rights, and the rights of refugees were all among the topics under study and discussion,” he said.  The national strategy also includes the establishment of a National Independent Commission on Human Rights.

Fateh Azzam, Regional Representative for OHCHR in the Middle East, called on the Parliament’s Human Rights Committee to organize meetings and conferences with civil society representatives in order to ensure that the contents of the national human rights action plan are discussed as openly and widely as possible.  He hopes  the plan will be formally adopted by Parliament sometime in 2011, and said, “we rely on the Lebanese government to adopt policies and take necessary legislative and administrative measures to honour its commitments under human rights law, and the national strategy is a step towards that.”        

The UN official also commended the efforts of Lebanese human rights activists, and in particular those groups pressuring the government to allow women to pass on their nationality to their children and families.  “Lebanon will not fully develop, unless the rights of women are respected, and they are able to play their part in society equally with men,” Azzam said. 

18 January 2011