Civil society launches joint reports prepared in context of its participation in UPR session in UN in Geneva
NNA – The Civil Society’s coalition organized a press conference on Thursday the 23rd of July 2015 in the Press club in Beirut to launch the joint reports prepared, in the context of its participation in the Universal Periodic Review session on the 2nd of October 2015 in the United Nations’ Headquarters in Geneva. It is noted that the Human Rights Council will showcase the degree of commitment of the Lebanese Government to all of theInternational Agreements that it has ratified. The coalition, that includes 75 Lebanese organizations, has produced joint general and sectorial reports concerning its priorities related to Human rights in Lebanon; and that will be presented in the presence of representatives of Human Rights Council states members’ embassies and the media.
The participated organizations indicated that there is still a big gap between Lebanon’s international commitments and its national laws, in spite of the country’s inclusive and general legal framework and its ratification of various Human Rights treaties. In a one of a kind step, a large coalition of civil society’s organizations has presented recommendations aiming to reinforce the truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition in a country that has suffered and is still suffering from major human rights violations.
In addition, the organizations have confirmed that the Presidential vacuum and the illegal extension of the parliament are a flagrant infringement on the Lebanese constitution and a breach of the international conventions related; and have recommended the necessity of therespect of basic constitutional laws related to the periodic elections principles and the right to vote principle and to take appropriate measures towards achieving that goal.
The organizations have also demanded the amendment of the Criminal Procedure Law and the Law on legal fees in line with fair trial standards, and also the modification of the judicial organization law to strengthen the independence of the judiciary guarantees. The reports showcased the failure of the Lebanese government in committing to the Convention against Torture, and called for a construction of a national preventative mechanism under the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture and to ensure the independence and proper conduct in order to put an end to the practice of torture.
The said organizations have urged the Lebanese government to protect journalists and civil society activists from freedom of expression and freedom of belief’s violations, and called for the approval of the draft laws on access to information and protection of witnesses and whistleblowers because it constitutes a basic foundation to promote transparency and accountability. They have also called for a unified civil law for Personal Status that promotes gender equality and is compatible with the constitution and the international commitments of Lebanon; also, to approve the quota for women in legislative and local elections in the Council of Ministers by 30 percent at least and enhance the culture encouraging women to engage in various aspects of the public life.
These organizations have linked economic and social rights violations’ in Lebanon to the following of economic rentier approaches, privatization measures and inclusive economic liberal policies that does not take into consideration human rights’ standards. They have additionally asked to insert necessary adjustments on the Work Law and its strict implementation to guarantee labors’ rights, improve working conditions and review the minimum wage to allow workers and their families a life with decent standards.
The organizations have emphasized on the necessity of having a law on the creation of a full health coverage system for people who are not covered by any funds, where clear standards are put in place allowing the citizen access to health services without anyone’s favor. They have asked for an implementation of the emergency work coverage system, along with the aging insurance and the creation of the unemployment fund. Additionally, they have referred to the importance of exempting the officially registered Palestinian refugees in the Lebanese Ministry of Interior from the necessity of having a work permit, and allowing them to benefit from full social security services against payment of full fees; and also the need to have a legal adjustment that allows professional Palestinians the practice of their jobs and the joining of unions.
The coalition has stressed on the necessity to obtain decrees of the law 2000/220 related to the rights of disabled people in Lebanon and to take necessary measures for its proper implementation. It has also asked the Lebanese Parliament to ratify the International Agreement and its protocol concerning disabled people, to work on a national strategy to implement it, to force ministries to include disability issues on the local development agenda and to include the said issues in the public budget and the ministries budgets.
The coalition has also asked the ratification of the International Agreements related to refugees and to create a law that identifies Palestinian in Lebanon by giving them a clear legal definition ensuring their civil, economic and social rights and living in dignity with an attention to the characteristics and challenges of the Lebanese situation. Additionally, to install an inclusive plan to improve the economic, social and living conditions of all refugees in Lebanon.