Documentation of the Complaint of a Syrian Civil Activist in Lebanon

France – Paris
Beirut – Lebanon
18 December 2020

On 17 December 2020, Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR) submitted a complaint to the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council regarding the arbitrary arrest and detention and the ill treatment of a Syrian activist by personnel of the Lebanese armed forces and General Security.

Summary of the submitted case:

A.H. is a Syrian human rights activist who was residing in Lebanon since 2012 and who held a legal residency permit. Between the years 2014 and 2019, he worked with a number of local and international civil society organizations in Lebanon on various projects related to peacebuilding, non-violence, and human rights.

A.H. was arrested in 2018 while renewing his residency permit at the General Security office, based on “similarity in names” with a person wanted by security agencies. Despite their personal information not matching and the lack of evidence against the civil activist A.H., he was taken to a military prison and held in substandard conditions in a four meters square room with 15 individuals, barely able to move, with an open toilet inside the room. He was infected with a germ affecting the intestines as a result of these conditions; continuously kept blindfolded during his detention and during movement between security branches and only allowed to remove the blindfold inside his room and in the interrogation room, where he was severely beaten by army personnel.

After his release, A.H. shortly worked with international non-governmental organizations until he was let go due to “pressures” by local Lebanese authorities on the organization. He was later resettled in Italy through humanitarian corridors, and on his way to Rome in 2019, the Lebanese General Security at the Beirut airport questioned him for 30 minutes and gave him a 15-year entry ban.

Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR) calls on Lebanese authorities to adhere and comply with their obligations under international treaties and conventions, to investigate violations committed on Lebanese territory, especially inside prisons, and to ensure the right of victims of human rights violations to effective remedy. ACHR urges the Special Procedures to enter into dialogue with the Government of Lebanon in order to visit the territories of Lebanon to monitor, report and recommend on the human rights situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and to review the universal periodic review for the Lebanon session this year, in which ACHR participated.

Access Center for Human Rights (ACHR) is a non-profit and non-governmental human rights organization based in Beirut and Paris, founded in 2017, and includes a group of young people with experience in law and local and international advocacy.
ACHR launched its activities in Lebanon, due to its belief in supporting refugeerights, at a time of a rise in serious violations against them. ACHR is specialized in monitoring the human rights refugee situation, and publishes periodic publications on mass violations with the aim of raising awareness and international advocacy to ensure the right to human dignity in the countries of asylum until their voluntary, dignified and safe return to their country of origin. Submission of complaints to the Special Rapporteurs is considered an essential aspect of awareness activities on human rights violations.

This complaint was submitted to:

The Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Ms. Mary Lawlor;
The Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Prof. Nils Melzer;
And the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.