The newly-formed Lebanese government 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 on Monday.
“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.
Amnesty International has identified nine core issues which are essential to tackling human rights violations in Lebanon. These include upholding the rights of women, LGBTQI people, refugees and migrant domestic workers, protecting freedom of expression and abolishing the death penalty.
“For the first time in years, Lebanon finally has an elected parliament and a cabinet. It is high time decision-makers engage in meaningful reforms prioritizing the public interest. Authorities have a responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of the people in the country and ensure a more just and equitable future for everyone,” said Maalouf.
Below are some of the recommendations put forth by Amnesty International:
- Amend law 293 criminalizing domestic violence to include the criminalization of marital rape;
- Repeal articles 505 and 518 allowing marriage with minors
- Adopt a law criminalizing sexual harassment
- Guarantee the equal rights of women, in law and practice, by revising all discriminatory provisions in the Penal Code, and include a definition of rape that is defined as any sexual act involving penetration without consent, in line with international human rights law and standards;
- Amend the personal status code to ensure the equal rights of women in relation to divorce, annulment, guardianship, child custody and inheritance, including Lebanese nationality Law No. 15 of 1925, so as to grant Lebanese women’s children and spouses citizenship rights;
- Abolish article 534 as well as other laws being used to harass LGBTQI individuals;
- Revise the Standard Unified Contract to eradicate the current inequality between a worker and the employer when ending the contract and
- Establish at the Ministry of Labour an inspection and compliance unit with a facilitated complaint mechanism and compensation schemes,
- Revise and amend Law 65 to fully comply with the recommendations of the UN Committee against torture which includes banning the military court from looking into torture allegations and removing the statute of limitations
- Fund and staff the national commission to investigate the fate of the disappeared without delay and in a transparent manner;
- Ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
- Protect the right to freedom of expression by ensuring individuals, including human rights defenders and other activists, are not detained over any form of peaceful expression,
- Ensure that the jurisdiction of the military court is limited to trying military personnel for breaches of military discipline only, and not used to try civilians or to prosecute ordinary criminal offences or human rights violations.