Beirut – 08/10/2019
“Refugees Rights Defenders Initiative” was launched a few months ago as a response to the worsening human rights situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, in an attempt to build sustainable constructive bridges of communication with relevant officials and diplomats concerned with the Syrian case. This initiative joins independent human rights activists and representatives of non-governmental organizations in Lebanon, France, Turkey, United States and Ireland.
Launched in September, with a delegation of human rights defenders, the initiative carried out a series of meetings with European countries representatives and United Nations Commissions in Geneva. Followed by official meetings with government officials, foreign embassies and United Nations Commissions in Beirut where it provided brief recommendations on human rights violations against Syrian refugees in Lebanon, concluding with concrete alternatives offered to put an end to the aggravated violations and ensure their fundamental rights.
Subsequently, the delegation of Refugees Rights Defenders informed of the uncontrolled worsening human rights situation for Syrian refugees in Lebanon will lead to disastrous long-term consequences. The delegation also called to the crucial commitment of the Lebanese government in implementing both local provisions and international covenants alike to protect Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon.
Furthermore, members of the delegation highlighted the most pressing issues facing Syrian refugees in Lebanon, primarily deportation, and other livelihood issues such as education and labor.
At the end of its meetings, the delegation’s concluded recommendations and alternatives are as follows:
- To suspend Syrian refugees deportation procedures to Syria due to its illegality in violation of article 3 of the United Nations’ Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or degrading Treatment or Punishment, which Lebanon ratified in 2000; It will counter-productive for deported refugees at risk of persecution, torture, death and forced involvement in the armed conflict in some areas of Syria, whether through armed groups or under conscription.
- Commit to guarantee the right of the Syrian refugee to be assigned a lawyer to defend him immediately after his arrest regardless of the reason, in accordance with the Lebanese Code of Criminal Procedure (Article 47), as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the aforementioned United Nations Convention against Torture.
- Review local provisions relating to residencies and work permits in accordance with domestic laws and Lebanon’s international obligations, including bilateral agreements in effect with Syria.
- To deter hate speech and discrimination against Syrian refugee in accordance with Article 317 of the Lebanese Penal Code, which criminalizes racist acts and speeches, as well as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which Lebanon ratified in 1971.
- Ensure basic education for every Syrian refugee child, including facilitating registration and delivery of certificates to refugee students without valid residencies, in compliance with the “United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child”, which Lebanon ratified in 1991.
These meetings constitute the first step of the action plan developed by the Refugees Rights Defenders Initiative to strengthen bilateral ties with stakeholders concerned with Syrian refugees situation in Lebanon, with the aim of ensuring the protection of Syrian refugees from any violation in his forced refuge in Lebanon, pending the conditions that enable him to return home voluntarily.
Members of the initiative:
1- Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR)
2- Syrian American Council (SAC)
3- Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH)
4- Syrian Association for the Citizen’s Dignity
5- Irish Syria Solidarity Movement
6- Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights.
7- Dr. Salam Kawakibi researcher and Human Rights activist
8- Ahmad AL Nablsi, lawyer and Human Rights advocate
This statement is endorsed by:
Lebanese Insititute for Democracy and Human Rights, (LIFE).
Umam for Documentation and research
Lebanese axis for inclusive citizenship
Lebanese Initiative against discrimination
Women Now for Development
Humena for Human Rights and Civic Engagement
Hassan KotobDirector of the Lebanese Center for Research and Consultancy
Mohammad Zain Al Abidin Araji, lawyer and a human rights activist
Diana Moukalled, journalist and documentary films producer
Monica Borgman, researcher and co-director of the Umam for Documentation and Research
Saadeddine Chatila, Human rights activist
Abbas Hadla, researcher and a civil activist
Rasha AL Amir, novelist and publisher
Dr. Fadi SHamieh, writer and social activist