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Department Seal


TITLE:  LEBANON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Constitutionally, Lebanon is a parliamentary democratic 
republic.  By tradition, the President is a Maronite, the Prime 
Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of the Chamber of 
Deputies a Shi'a Muslim.  The 128 deputies are divided equally 
between Christians and Muslims.  

Non-Lebanese forces continue to control much of Lebanon.  Their 
presence impinges on Lebanese central authority and prevents 
the application of normal constitutional protections in those 
areas.  There are 30,000 Syrian troops in Lebanon.  A 1991 
security and defense pact establishes a cooperative framework 
between Lebanese and Syrian armed forces, but Syrian military 
and intelligence units operate independently.  According to the 
Taif accord, the two governments were to decide in September 
1992 to redeploy Syrian troops to the Biqa' Valley, with full 
redeployment shortly after.  Lebanese officials failed to raise 
the issue with the Syrian Government.  They have at times cited 
a number of reasons, including the army's alleged unreadiness 
to take over routine security functions performed by Syrian 
troops.  Pervasive Syrian influence over Lebanese politics and 
Lebanese decisionmakers lay at the root of this unwillingness 
to engage Damascus.  The U.S. Government has publicly called 
for a decision to redeploy.

Israel exerts control in and near its self-proclaimed "security 
zone" in southern Lebanon largely through the Army of South 
Lebanon (SLA) and the presence of about 1,000 Israeli troops.  
The SLA maintains a separate and arbitrary system of justice in 
the zone, without reference to central Lebanese authority.  
Palestinian groups operate autonomously in refugee camps 
located throughout the country and maintain a separate, 
arbitrary system of justice for fellow Palestinians.

The Government continued to consolidate its authority in some 
parts of the country by disarming Christian militias and the 
pro-Fatah Popular Nasirite organization but was less concerned 
with disarming others, especially in the south.  It made no 
effort to disarm the Iranian-backed Hizballah and its allies or 
the Israeli-backed SLA.  A decades-old cycle of raids and 
counterraids in the south continued between Hizballah and 
allied guerrillas on one hand and the Israeli Defense Forces 
(IDF) and SLA on the other.  Following Hizballah Katyusha 
rocket attacks against civilian targets in northern Israel in 
July, the IDF launched an intense, week-long series of attacks, 
termed "Operation Accountability."  Over 150 persons were 
killed and 500 wounded in Lebanon, and thousands of houses were 
destroyed or damaged.  A chief feature of the operation was a 
declared policy of depopulating the south.  Israeli warnings to 
civilians to flee led to the dislocation of over 300,000 people 
for a 1-week period.  There were credible accounts of IDF use 
of phosphorous shells against military and civilian targets.

Lebanon has a free market economy.  The country possesses few 
important natural resources.  Before the outbreak of civil war 
in 1975, Lebanon was an important financial and commercial 
center, but the war greatly weakened its commercial leadership 
and inflicted massive damage on its economic infrastructure.  
In 1993 the economy partially recovered from sharp 
deterioration in the previous 2 years.  The Hariri Government 
was able to restore public confidence, stabilize the economy, 
and launch a program to reconstruct the economy's 

The human rights situation in Lebanon deteriorated as the 
Government launched two sets of assaults in 1993.  The 
Government frequently arrested without due process opponents of 
government and Syrian policy in Lebanon, temporarily closed 
three newspapers, and indefinitely suspended broadcasting by a 
television network critical of the Government.  The level of 
violence was at its lowest since civil strife began in 1975, 
but civilians and their property continued to be victims of 
artillery and aerial attacks, bombings, abductions, 
assassinations, and explosions.  The Government made a small 
start in returning to their homes some of the more than 600,000 
Lebanese displaced by the civil war.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Political killings continued to occur in 1993, but the number 
declined as the Government further consolidated its authority 
over portions of the country.  On December 20, unknown persons 
bombed the east Beirut headquarters of the Kataib Party while a 
meeting of the party's Politburo was under way; two persons 
died and 130 were injured, many of them party officials.  
Numerous dynamite attacks by unknown persons on cars and 
buildings throughout Lebanon caused some casualties and serious 
property damage.  In June members of the militant Sunni Islamic 
Grouping tried to blow up a busload of clerics attending a 
Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical conference in north Lebanon, but 
their explosive device went off prematurely, killing one of the 
perpetrators.  The authorities arrested six suspects and 
charged them with inciting sectarian discord and attempting to 
assassinate clerics, but they have not yet been tried.  An 
official of the Druze Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) and a 
member of the militant Islamic Al-Ahbash movement, among 
others, were assassinated.  In April Israeli helicopters 
attacked the car of Samir Suwayden, Popular Front for the 
Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) commander in South Lebanon, near 
Yatar.  His wife, daughter, and another person were killed.

Rival Palestinian factions continued to engage in a cycle of 
politically motivated murder, mostly in the southern city of 
Sidon and nearby refugee camps but also in Beirut.  At least 11 
such killings occurred during the spring.  Most of the targets 
were officials of Fatah and the Abu Nidal organization (Fatah - 
Revolutionary Command).  Other Palestinians were the object of 
assassination attempts, including Muhammad Abu Samra of the 
Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.  

     b.  Disappearance

There were no known disappearances in 1993 attributable to 
state security forces.  However, thousands of Lebanon's 
inhabitants kidnaped during the years of civil unrest remained 
unaccounted for.  Militias and non-Lebanese forces were 
responsible for most of these kidnapings.  Some victims are 
believed to have been summarily executed.  The Government has 
taken no judicial action against groups responsible for the 
kidnapings, including those which held Western hostages.  The 
families of the missing formed a group to pursue their cause 
with the help of a Beirut lawyer and former member of one of 
the militias, the Sunni Muslim Murabitun.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

There were credible reports of the use of excessive force by 
the Lebanese army against detained members of the former 
militia of the Lebanese Forces (LF).  Abuse included beatings 
as well as tying detainees' hands behind their backs and 
suspending them from the wrists for lengthy periods.  Those 
responsible for the abuse were not punished.

Conditions in some prisons are harsh, threatening the lives and 
health of the inmates.  A former police commander, Brigadier 
Antoine Saadah, alleged in a study published locally that 
overcrowding in Lebanese prisons in some instances exceeded 
four times the normal occupancy.  The Beirut-area Roumieh 
prison, designed to accommodate 246 prisoners, is said actually 
to house more than 1,000.  Saadah and other human rights 
activists report instances of suffocation resulting from the 
overcrowded conditions.  An eyewitness said overcrowding in 
Batrun prison was particularly bad, with 40 people jailed in a 
15-foot cell.

Abuses also occurred in areas outside the State's authority.  
There were persistent and credible reports that various 
Palestinian groups engaged in torture of Palestinian rivals.  
In June, when Fatah released 95 members of the Abu Nidal group 
from its prison in southern Lebanon, for example, the prisoners 
alleged torture and ill treatment.

Supporters of exiled General Michel 'Awn credibly reported that 
they had suffered torture by Syrian security elements during 
prief periods of detention in the autumn and winter of 1993.  
There were also allegations of torture and abuse by the SLA at 
Al-Khiyam prison in the Israeli-controlled security zone.  One 
international observer has concluded that torture and other 
cruel treatment is no longer widespread at the Al-Khiyam 
prison, based on evidence gathered in interviews with released 
prisoners.  The SLA continued to deny access to the facility by 
the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Arrest warrants are required before arresting a suspect.  There 
were credible reports, however, of the availability of blank 
warrants signed by the military prosecutor.  By law, arresting 
officers must refer suspects to a prosecutor within 24 hours of 
arrest.  A suspect must be released if not charged within 48 
hours of arrest.  However, some government prosecutors 
authorized the indefinite detention of suspects for 
interrogation without reference to a court or a judge.  The law 
permits incommunicado detention at the discretion of the 
investigating judge.  Every person arrested has the right to 
legal counsel, but there is no public defender's office.  The 
bar association has an office to serve those who cannot afford 
a lawyer.  Bail is permitted in most cases, excluding felonies.

The army ignored due process in a campaign of arbitrary arrests 
in 1993.  Its efforts focused on members of the former militia 
of the Christian Lebanese forces, sympathizers of the exiled 
former army commander and self-proclaimed Prime Minister Michel 
'Awn, and members of Lebanon's Popular Nasirite Organization 
(PNO), a former militia noted for close links to Fatah.  All 
these groups were at odds politically with the Syrian and 
Lebanese regimes and Syrian policies in Lebanon.  In the autumn 
and winter of 1993, the Lebanese army arbitrarily arrested 
dozens of 'Awn's supporters and turned them over to Syrian 
Military Intelligence (SMI) units in Lebanon.  SMI typically 
held them briefly in detention, and the detainees provided 
credible reports of torture during interrogation.  These 
arrests occurred in the wake of attacks with small explosives 
on Syrian sentries in Christian areas near Beirut.  Lebanese 
authorities arrested a member of an extremist Christian group, 
the Guardians of the Cedars, in November on the charge of 
conspiring with 'Awn and the Israeli Government.  Military 
court proceedings were under way at the end of the year.  

In the summer, the army arrested 30 members of the LF and held 
them incommunicado for more than a week without placing charges 
or referring the cases to the military prosecutor.  Later, 
these members of the LF were accused of threatening state 
security and of assassinating Lebanese army officers and 
soldiers in 1990.  The LF and an army faction backing Michel 
'Awn's seizure of power were fighting at the time.  One LF 
member remains in detention.  The army also took steps to purge 
its ranks of suspected LF members.  

Authorities arrested four PNO members July 20 and released them 
in September.  They were never charged.

Amnesty International reported in April that 8 persons were 
arrested in March for distributing leaflets opposing the 
Government and the presence of Syrian troops in Lebanon.  They 
were believed to be held incommunicado for an unknown period at 
the Defense Ministry.  'Awn supporters alleged that brief 
detentions by the army, for periods ranging from a day to a 
week, were commonplace.  In July a leading 'Awnist was arrested 
for defamation after he issued a press release making 
exaggerated claims that hundreds of illegal detainees were in 
Lebanese jails.  He was detained for 7 days.

Arbitrary detention by local militias and non-Lebanese forces 
continued to occur in areas outside the central Government's 
authority.  In March the Israeli navy detained for 24 hours 
five Lebanese fishermen who were fishing off the coast of Tyre 
inside Lebanese territorial waters.  In March Israeli forces 
released three citizens it had arrested inside the security 
zone and held without charges for about 20 days.  The SLA 
continued to hold at least 350 Lebanese and Palestinian 
detainees at Al-Khiyam prison and denied access to them by the 
ICRC and family members.  Seventeen detainees were released in 
March and another three in May.  In March the Iranian-backed 
Hizballah militia handed over to the ICRC one person and the 
remains of another.  The party had kidnaped them 2 years ago.  
No judicial action was taken against Hizballah.

The Government does not normally use exile as a means of 
punishment.  However, in 199l it pardoned former army commander 
and self-proclaimed Prime Minister 'Awn, along with two aides, 
on condition that they leave the country and remain in exile 
for 5 years.  They were accused of usurping power.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Each confessional group has its own court for family and 
personal status cases.  There is a separate military court 
system.  In refugee camps, Palestinian elements operate an 
autonomous and arbitrary system of justice; rival Palestinian 
factions often try their opponents without due process.  

Although Lebanese law provides the right to a fair public trial 
and the judiciary is considered independent and relatively 
impartial, influential politicians continued to intervene 
successfully to protect supporters from detention and 
prosecution.  Government interference in the judicial process 
and low judicial salaries led to the resignation of several 
prominent judges and to corruption and bribery of others.  The 
Government took steps to adjust salaries in September.  The 
appointment of judges, like other government appointments, is 
allocated on the basis of religious affiliation.  

The resignations, aggravating an already severe shortage of 
judges, dealt a blow to efforts to speed adjudication and erase 
a backlog of cases that had developed during the civil war.  An 
inability to conduct investigations in areas outside effective 
government control also caused trial delays.  

The legal system is discriminatory in its handling of so-called 
crimes of honor.  Men, for example, are typically acquitted of 
murder charges in cases involving the murder of adulterous 
wives.  By law, in some instances a female's testimony before a 
notary public carries half the weight of that of a male.

There are no known political prisoners, although political 
opponents of the Syrian and Lebanese regimes are often detained 
without charges for short periods of time.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

While Lebanese authorities generally show no interest in 
controlling personal life, they are not reluctant to interfere 
with the privacy of some foes.  Laws require that government 
prosecutors obtain a warrant before entering houses, except 
when the Lebanese army pursues an armed attacker.  Militiasand 
non-Lebanese forces operating outside areas of central 
government authority frequently violated rights of privacy.  
Various factions and the Government use informer networks and 
monitor telephones to gather intelligence on their foes.  A 
Member of Parliament, former Prime Minister Salim Al-Huss, 
questioned the Government about taps on phones belonging to 
members of Parliament and politicians but received no response.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

The situation in South Lebanon remained explosive.  Hizballah 
and other Lebanese and Palestinian militias on the one hand, 
and Israel and the SLA on the other, engaged in a cycle of 
violence which led to civilian casualties in South Lebanon and 
the deaths of two members of the United Nations Interim Force 
in Lebanon (UNIFIL).  Lebanese and Palestinian militias 
attacked SLA and IDF troops deployed on Lebanese soil and 
Israeli civilians in northern Israel.  The Israelis directed 
air strikes and artillery shelling on alleged guerrilla and 
terrorist targets inside Lebanon.

Events culminated in July when Israel launched land, sea, and 
air attacks on Lebanon in "Operation Accountability."  The 
Israeli offensive was designed to put an end to militia rocket 
attacks on northern Israel.  The intense, week-long assault 
included a declared policy of depopulating the south, 
accomplished by using radio broadcasts and leaflets to warn 
residents of named villages, towns, and cities to flee by 
certain deadlines.  These tactics resulted in mass panic and 
the dislocation of over 300,000 southerners, who sought refuge  
in areas to the north, including Beirut.  During the Israeli 
strikes, about 150 civilians were killed and 500 wounded.  Nine 
hundred houses were completely destroyed and 2,450 were 
partially damaged.

There were credible eyewitness reports of Israeli use of 
phosphorous shells with respect to both Lebanese military and 
civilian targets.  International observers found evidence that 
at least 17 civilians had received phosphorous burns.  

On September 13 the Lebanese army opened fire on demonstrators 
in the southern suburbs of Beirut.  Nine civilians were killed 
and 36 wounded.  Hizballah had organized the rally to protest 
the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian agreement in Washington, 
despite direct warnings from the Government and Syrian 
authorities that they intended to enforce a ban on 
demonstrations.  The army said soldiers acted in self-defense 
after elements in the crowd had opened fire.  The Government 
says it is investigating the incident.

Violations of international humanitarian standards with respect 
to treatment of prisoners continued to occur.  

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Lebanon has a long heritage of freedom of opinion, speech, and 
press, although many Lebanese journalists have been killed and 
kidnaped in the past two decades by Lebanese and foreign 
factions.  Although there were repeated attempts to muzzle 
these freedoms in 1993, criticism of the Government's policies 
and leaders continued.  Dozens of newspapers and magazines are 
published throughout Lebanon, financed by various Lebanese and 
foreign groups.  While the press is nominally independent, 
press content often reflects the opinions of these financial 
backers.  In addition, a legal framework exists to impose 
restrictions on the media.  Some restrictive press regulations 
were imposed during the civil war but remain in place, such as 
Decree 104 of 1977.  Laws prohibit attacks on the dignity of 
the head of state or of foreign leaders, authorize the 
prosecutor general to shut newspapers for up to 1 week without 
reference to the courts if articles appear that, in the view of 
the authorities, threaten Lebanon's foreign relations or incite 
sectarian conflict, and prohibit the publication of state 
secrets.  A special publication court exists to try cases 
involving these matters.  The 1991 Lebanese-Syrian security 
agreement contains a provision effectively banning 
informational activity that could endanger the security of 
either State.

In April and May the Government temporarily shut down three 
newspapers.  Nida' Al-Watan, owned by a vocal Maronite critic 
of Prime Minister Hariri, was accused of inciting sectarian 
discord and suspended for 38 days.  It had alleged that Hariri 
was buying Christian church property in a bid to Islamize 
Lebanon.  Al-Safir, one of Lebanon's most popular dailies, was 
closed for publishing alleged state secrets.  It had printed 
the text of an Israeli proposal submitted to the Lebanese 
delegation to the Middle East peace talks.  During the paper's 
1-week suspension, it appeared using a valid permit for the 
moribund Beirut Al-Masa' newspaper.  Trials in both cases are 
under way.  Al-Sharq was closed for 1 week after printing a 
cartoon that was deemed insulting to the President's family.  
In October the Public Prosecutor charged two newspapers, 
Al-Liwa and Ad-Diyar, with slandering government officials.  
The Government also made a new charge against Nida' Al-Watan in 
October for publishing a story alleging that Japanese Red Army 
members were present in Lebanon.  The authorities denied the 
story and said it harmed Lebanon's reputation.  A pro-Awn 
publication was closed in October for distributing pornography.

Direct press criticism of Syria and its role in Lebanon 
virtually vanished in 1993.  One leading journalist was 
subjected to anonymous threats after writing columns critical 
of aspects of Syrian policy in Lebanon.  Other reporters 
described a widespread practice of self-censorship on matters 
related to Syria.

Diverse political groups, particularly former militias, 
operated a wide variety of unregulated radio and television 
stations.  As these groups accepted the spread of state 
authority and began to manage their broadcasts on a commercial 
basis, heavily slanted propaganda diminished.  The Taif accord 
calls for the regulation and organization of the broadcast 
media; this proposal is controversial, however, and the 
Government has not submitted a draft law to Parliament.  
Pending passage of new regulations, the Information Minister 
and major stations signed an honor code in February banning 
programming which would disturb public order, stir ethnic or 
sectarian enmity, slander Lebanese leaders or friendly nations, 
violate moral standards, or promote Israel.  The honor code has 
no discernible impact on broadcasting.  Exploiting the absence 
of a legal framework, the Government moved to close one of its 
critics, the Independent Communications Network (ICN).  The 
station, owned by the publisher of Nida' Al-Watan, was accused 
of inciting sectarian discord.  In late December, the Civil 
Court permitted ICN to resume broadcasting and scheduled for 
February a hearing of the Government's case against the 
broadcaster.  The Public Prosecutor has asked for prison 
sentences of 3 years for ICN management.

Lebanon's partially state-owned television station, Tele-Liban, 
had long enjoyed virtual autonomy with respect to its news and 
public affairs programming.  The Cabinet, however, reasserted 
in August the Information Minister's legal right to monitor and 
effectively control Tele-Liban's activities.

In 1993 the Government revived police control over all 
nonperiodical publications, books, foreign magazines, plays, 
and films, which must be submitted to the Public Security 
Directorate for approval before distribution.  A prize-winning 
film on national reconciliation was banned for several months 
and released only after the producer made some changes.  The 
police briefly closed a play, "The Rabbit and the Saints," 
acting on a request from the Maronite church.  Censors later 
reversed the decision.  Police confiscated a novel, "Garden of 
the Senses," by a well-known local author, saying it had 
pornographic passages.

Lebanon has a strong tradition of academic freedom and a 
flourishing private educational system, born from the 
inadequacy of public schools and an attachment to sectarian 
affiliations.  Students exercise the right to form campus 
associations, and the Government does not usually interfere 
with student groups.  The Government's arrests of students 
sympathetic to the exiled General Michel 'Awn and to the 
Lebanese Forces in 1992 chilled student activism among those 
students in 1993.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Any group wishing to organize a rally must obtain the prior 
approval of the Interior Ministry, but this law is not 
uniformly applied.  Some political factions, such as the Shi'a 
Amal movement, the Christian Kataib Party, and the mostly Druze 
PSP were permitted to stage rallies during 1993, but some 
Christian groups were not.  The army obstructed a meeting of 
the Kataib Party Salvation Committee (a group at odds with the 
policies of the party mainstream), and the Interior Ministry 
did not grant the Committee a permit for a rally.  Other 
Christian groups opposed to the Government were warned by army 
intelligence officers against staging rallies.  

Hizballah held demonstrations and marches unhindered by the 
authorities.  On September 13, however, the army opened fire on 
Hizballah demonstrators in an effort to impose a government ban 
on protests (see Section 1.g.).  The rally was staged in 
opposition to the Israeli-Palestinian agreement.  Sunni 
Islamist groups in Tripoli, foiled by the government ban from 
making a similar protest, later organized an antipeace process 
gathering inside a mosque.

Army intelligence monitors the movement and activities of 
members of opposition groups, some of whom charged that 
intelligence officers have warned them against holding private 
meetings with other oppositionists.

Neither Israel nor Syria allows groups openly hostile to them 
to operate in areas they control.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Lebanese practice their various religions freely.  There are 17 
officially recognized sects, including numerous Christian 
denominations, Muslims (Sunni, Shia, and others), and Druze.  
There is no state religion, but Lebanon's confessional 
political system means that a wide range of government 
positions are filled on the basis of religion.

There are no restrictions on any particular religious groups, 
foreign clergy, or places of worship.  Religious groups are 
free to publish religious material, operate schools, and 
establish charitable organizations.

Lebanese have the legal right to convert from one religion to 
another, but the confessional character of society makes 
conversion to another religion difficult.  Women, however, 
often adopt the religion of their husbands.  Conversion can 
mean ostracism from family and friends.  Local religious 
leaders often pressure members of their congregations against 
taking part in the religious activities of other groups.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Lebanese traditionally have enjoyed freedom of travel, domestic 
and foreign.  The spread of government authority has removed 
barriers that blocked domestic travel during the civil war, but 
obstacles remain.  Lebanese armed forces and Syrian troops 
maintained checkpoints in areas under their control.  In the 
south, the SLA and IDF maintained tight restrictions on the 
movement of people and goods into and out of the security zone.

There are some restrictions on foreign travel by Lebanese 
citizens.  Husbands may block foreign travel by their wives and 
minor children.  The introduction in 1993 of compulsory 
military service for many males aged between 18 and 21 meant 
that youths subject to the draft are required to register at a 
recruitment office and obtain a travel authorization document 
before leaving the country.  Travel to Israel is illegal for 
all Lebanese citizens, but many do so through Israeli-
controlled territory in southern Lebanon.  There are no legal 
restrictions on the right of all citizens to return.  Many 
emigres are reluctant to return for a variety of political, 
economic, and social reasons.  Palestinian refugees with valid 
residency papers have the right to return to Lebanon.

The Government began the process of encouraging the return to 
their homes of over 600,000 Lebanese displaced during the civil 
war.  The process was slowed by financial constraints as well 
as lingering insecurity felt by the displaced.  Hundreds of 
families, however, received keys to their homes and began to 
repair them.  The Government concentrated its efforts on 
returning Christians to areas of the Shuf and 'Alayh from which 
they had fled in the wake of Christian-Druze fighting in the 

Lebanon has historically both generated and received refugees.  
There are approximately 180,000 stateless undocumented persons 
in Lebanon.  Although the families of some of them have lived 
in Lebanon for generations, they suffer broad discrimination 
since they are not accorded the legal rights enjoyed by the 
rest of the population.  They include the inhabitants of border 
areas in dispute between Lebanon and Syria and Lebanon and 
Israel, Kurds, Syriac Orthodox, and members of other sects.  
These people do not benefit from such government services as 
the national social security fund, and cannot be employed by 
the Government.  Concern about preserving sectarian balance was 
one obstacle to the naturalization of these people in the 
past.  In 1993 political support grew for a plan to naturalize 
a confessionally balanced group of non-Palestinian stateless 
persons who have continuously resided in Lebanon for the past 
15 years.  The Government is reviewing applications.

Most non-Lebanese refugees in Lebanon are Palestinians. The 
Government has estimated their number at 361,000, but this 
figure only includes families of refugees who arrived in 1948.  
Some estimates of the actual number of Palestinians in Lebanon 
now range from 450,000 to 500,000.  Although the Government in 
1991 ended its practice of denying work permits to 
Palestinians, a strong bias against them continues to compel 
often highly trained Palestinian refugees to take menial work.  
Palestinians and other aliens may own land only of a limited 
size and only after obtaining the approval of five district 
offices.  The law applies to all aliens, but for political, 
cultural, and economic reasons it is applied in a manner 
disadvantageous to the Palestinians and, to a lesser extent, 
Kurds.  Under Lebanese citizenship law, only Lebanese males may 
transmit citizenship to their spouses and children.  

Lebanon refused to admit 419 Palestinians deported by Israel on 
December 17, 1992.  The deportees remained in an effective no 
man's land between Israeli and Lebanese controlled territory 
inside southern Lebanon.  The Government turned a blind eye to 
the supply of relief material to the deportees, despite a ban 
on such activity.  By the end of 1993, all of the deportees had 
returned to the Israeli-occupied territories except for about 
15 deportees who reportedly elected to remain outside the 
occupied territories to avoid imprisonment. 

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Lebanon is a parliamentary democracy in which the people have 
the constitutional right to change their government.  However, 
until the Parliamentary elections in 1992, the people had not 
been able to exercise this right during 16 years of civil war.

According to the Constitution, direct elections for the 
Parliament must be held every 4 years.  The Parliament, in 
turn, elects the President every 6 years.  The President and 
Parliament choose the Cabinet.  Political parties may form, and 
some flourish.  Since the emergence of the post-1943 state, a 
relatively restricted group of traditional and sectarian 
leaders largely have determined national policy.  The unwritten 
1943 National Pact allocated power on a confessional system 
based on the 1932 census.  The Pact stipulated that the 
President would be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a 
Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of Parliament a Shi'a Muslim.  
Until 1990, seats in Parliament were divided on a 6-to-5 ratio 
of Christians to Muslims.  Positions in the government were 
allocated on a similar basis between Christians and Muslims.  

Efforts to alter or abolish the confessional system of 
allocating power were at the center of Lebanese politics for 
more than 3 decades.  Those religious groups most favored by 
the 1943 formula sought to preserve it, while those who 
perceived themselves to be disadvantaged sought to revise it on 
the basis of different demographic data or to abolish it 
entirely.  The struggle gave a strongly sectarian coloration to 
Lebanese politics and to the continuing civil strife in the 
country.  Under the National Reconciliation Agreement reached 
in Taif, Saudi Arabia in October 1989, Members of Parliament 
agreed to alter the National Pact to create a 50-50 
Christian-Muslim balance in the Parliament and reorder the 
powers of the different branches of government. 

Constitutional amendments embodying the political reforms 
stipulated in the Taif agreement, which represented a dramatic 
political and psychological change, became law in 1990.  They 
included an expansion of the number of seats in Parliament and 
the division of seats equally between Muslims and Christians 
and the transfer of some powers from the President to the Prime 
Minister and Cabinet.  Parliamentary elections were held in 
1992.  The elections were not prepared and not carried out in a 
manner to ensure the broadest national consensus.  Because the 
results do not reflect the full spectrum of the body politic in 
Lebanon, they cast doubt on the ability of the Lebanese people 
to change their government through truly democratic means.

Palestinians in Lebanon, with the exception of the few who have 
gained Lebanese nationality, have no political rights.  An 
estimated 17 Palestinian factions operate in Lebanon, ranging 
from several characterized as "Islamic" to numerous pro- and 
anti-Arafat organizations, many built around prominent 
individual leaders.  Most Palestinians live in refugee camps, 
under the control of one or more political factions.  Leaders 
are not elected, and there are no representative institutions 
that would permit popular participation in running camps.  
Fundamental protections and freedoms expected of governments 
exist in some but not all Palestinian areas.  

There are no legal barriers to participation by women in 
politics, but the culture discourages it.  Three women were 
elected to Parliament in 1992.  Two were related to deceased 
politicians, and the third is the sister of the Prime 
Minister.  Very few women hold policy-level positions in the 

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Several local associations are devoted to human rights, 
including the Foundation for Human and Humanitarian Rights, the 
Lebanese Association for Human Rights (headed by a Member of 
Parliament), and the Lebanese Bar Association's Office for 
Human Rights.  The Government does not interfere with the 
activities of these organizations, according to their leaders.  
There were no known requests by international human rights 
organizations to investigate the situation in Lebanon in 1993, 
but occasional inquiries were made.  The SLA has refused 
requests for access by the ICRC and other international 
humanitarian groups to visit the prison it operates at 
Al-Khiyam in southern Lebanon.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

Sixteen years of civil war blocked progress in many social 
fields, including laws and practices on discrimination.  In 
1993, the Cabinet and Parliament considered amendments to laws 
that discriminate against women, children, and the disabled, 
but no action was taken.  


Lebanese women, many of whom have professional degrees, can 
work outside the home and increasingly do so out of necessity.  
The idea that women should be supported by men prevails, 
however, and many, including those with professional training, 
remain home with their families or until their children are 
grown.  Males exercise considerable control over female 
relatives, often restricting such activities outside the home 
as travel or contact with friends and relatives.  Women may own 
property but may not be able to exercise control over it due to 
legal and cultural restrictions.  The law stipulates that a 
woman must obtain the prior approval of her husband to open a 
business or engage in trade.  The Judicial Institute refused to 
accept 200 female law graduates in November, offering no 
grounds for the decision.

Violence against women occurs, and the press reports frequent 
cases of rape, but judicial authorities have no statistics on 
the extent of the problem.  Doctors and social workers believe 
most abused women do not seek medical help.  The society's 
emphasis on personal privacy and honor makes it difficult for 
women to seek legal redress, suggesting that cases reported in 
the papers are but a fraction of the total number.  The 
Government has neither expressed an interest in the problem nor 
made an effort to combat it.

Each confessional group in Lebanon has its own family and 
personal status laws administered by religious courts, and each 
group differs in its treatment of marriage, family property 
rights, and inheritance.  Many of these laws discriminate 
against women.  For example, Sunni inheritance law gives a son 
twice the share of a daughter.  Although Muslim men can easily 
divorce, Muslim women can do so only with the approval of their 
husbands.  Divorce is difficult for Christians following 
Catholic rites, including Maronites.  Many seeking divorce 
convert to an orthodox faith.  Parliament approved in November 
a law that allowed women to testify in matters related to land 
registry.  Previously, a woman's testimony had carried only 
half the weight of a man's.


The Government has not placed priority on children's rights and 
welfare.  There is no evidence of government spending to 
protect children, although Lebanon has ratified the Children's 
Rights Charter.  The area of children's rights is one of many 
demands made on a state that is just emerging from years of 
social and financial chaos.  The plight of children is a 
growing concern in Lebanon.  A huge number of children are 
neglected, abused, exploited and even sold to disreputable 
adoption agents at a rate of $5,000 for an infant, according to 
children's rights monitors.  Hundreds of abandoned children are 
found in the streets, begging and cleaning car windows; others 
are hired illegally at low wages.  Juvenile delinquency is 
rising.  There are 428 cases before the delinquency court in 
north Lebanon alone, and many delinquents wait in ordinary 
prisons for trial and remain there after sentencing.  Limited 
financial resources have hindered efforts to build adequate 
facilities to rehabilitate delinquents.  

     Religious Minorities

Discrimination based on religion is built into the system of 
government (see Section 3).  The amended Constitution of 1990 
embraces the principle of abolishing confessionalism as a 
criterion for filling all government positions, but no steps 
have been taken to accomplish this.

     People with Disabilities

Over 100,000 people were handicapped during the civil war.  
This traditional society has tended to neglect the disabled and 
handicapped, and the concept of rights for the disabled is a 
novelty for it.  Most efforts to secure education, 
independence, health, and shelter for the disabled were made by 
private institutions dealing with the handicapped, of which 
there are more than 100 throughout the country.  In the 
aftermath of the war, the issue of rights for the disabled has 
gained the Government's attention, and in late 1992 a minister 
was given responsibility for handicapped affairs, although he 
lacked a ministry and financial resources.  Parliament amended 
a 1973 law on the disabled, with a view to eliminating all 
obstacles that block equal treatment for the disabled.  Even 
rudimentary needs remain unmet, however.  Lebanon's heavily 
damaged cities make no accommodation to the disabled, and 
building codes still have no requirements to ease access.  
Facilities for the disabled in most instances are inadequately 
funded by the Government and various religious institutions, 
and other charities which run them.  In this area as in others, 
the level of public philanthropy is low.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

All workers, except government employees, may form and join 
unions and have a legal right to strike.  Worker 
representatives must be chosen from those employed within the 
bargaining unit.  Trade unions may determine their own policies 
and programs as long as they do not involve themselves in 
politics.  About 600,000 persons form the active labor force, 
many of whom are members of Lebanon's 160 labor unions and 
associations.  Twenty-three of the unions, with about 250,000 
workers, are represented in the General Confederation of 
Workers (CGTL), 42 percent of the estimated labor force.  
Lebanese authorities do not control or restrict unions, 
although union leaders allege that the Government has tried to 
intervene in elections for union officials.  In 1993 the CGTL 
executive council elections resulted in the defeat of CGTL's 
long-term president.  There were credible allegations that the 
Labor Minister helped sway electors, encouraged by both leading 
candidates.  Palestinians in Lebanon may organize their own 
unions.  Restrictions on their right to work in the country, 
however, make this right more theoretical than real.  Few 
Palestinians participate actively in trade unions in Lebanon.  

Public school teachers, the staff at Lebanese University, 
Trans-Mediterranean Airways employees, and municipal contract 
workers (principally garbage collectors) in several cities 
including Beirut staged a handful of warning strikes in 1993.  
The longest lasted 3 days.  Strikers suspended their walkouts 
in these cases in response to government offers to examine 
their demands.  As of December 31, however, those demands were 
largely unmet.

After months of negotiations and strike threats, CGTL and the 
Government struck a deal in December on a nationwide wage 

Three hundred workers at a private steel factory struck on 
September 29 over management's decision to increase their hours 
of employment and over alleged inroads on worker's freedom to 
organize.  As of November 1 the strike was unresolved.  Laws 
prohibit retribution against strikers and leaders, and there 
are no known cases of such retribution.  Two strike leaders 
among the Beirut municipal contract workers, however, were 
detained by the police for several hours.

Unions are free to affiliate with international federations and 
confederations, and they maintain a variety of them.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The right of workers to organize and to bargain exists in law 
and practice.  Most workers' groups engage in some form of 
collective bargaining with their employers.  Stronger 
federations obtain significant gains through their own 
collective bargaining efforts.  Weaker unions rely on the 
mediation of the CGTL, which negotiates across-the-board pay 
increases with private employers' associations.  The CGTL often 
assists unions affiliated with it in their bargaining efforts 
and on occasion has assisted nonunionized workers.  There is no 
government mechanism to promote voluntary labor-management 
negotiations, and workers have no protection against antiunion 
discrimination.  While such discrimination exists, its 
practical impact on union rights is negligible largely because 
of CGTL activism.  

In May the International Labor Organization (ILO) reviewed a 
complaint lodged by the CGTL against the Government regarding 
the arrest of striking bank employees in 1992.  The ILO, noting 
that the Government had not denied the fact of the arrests and 
had not responded adequately to ILO inquiries, asked the 
Government to safeguard unions' freedom to strike in the future.

There are no special economic incentives or export processing 

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

While not prohibited by law, forced labor is not practiced or 
condoned by the Government.   However, children, domestics, or 
other foreign workers are sometimes forced to remain in 
situations amounting to coerced or bonded labor.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The 1946 labor code stipulates a minimum age of 8.  Workers 
between the age of 8 and 16 cannot work in excess of 7 hours, 
with 1 hour of rest provided after 4 hours.  They are also 
prohibited from working between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.  
There is a general prohibition against "jobs out of proportion 
with a worker's age."  The labor code also prohibits certain 
types of mechanical work for children aged 8 to 13, and other 
types for those aged 13 to 16.  The Labor Ministry is tasked 
with enforcing these requirements, but the civil war left it 
with few resources and a demoralized and sometimes corrupt 
staff.  The law is not rigorously applied, and many younger 
children work in family businesses.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The Labor Ministry sets a legal monthly minimum wage, which was 
raised in December to about $117 (197,000 Lebanese pounds).  
The law is not enforced effectively in the private sector.  In 
theory the courts could be called upon to enforce it, but in 
practice they are not.  Trade unions actively try to assure the 
payment of minimum wages in both the public sector and 
large-scale private sectors, such as teaching and transport.  
Inflation and currency devaluation make it impossible for a 
worker and family to live on the minimum wage; most workers 
have to earn additional income to make ends meet.

Labor law prescribes a standard 6-day workweek of 48 hours, 
with a 24-hour rest period per week.  In practice, workers in 
the industrial sector work an average of 35 hours a week, and 
workers in other sectors of the economy work an average of 30 
hours a week.  The law includes specific occupational health 
and safety regulations.  Labor regulations call on employer's 
to take adequate precautions for employee safety.  Enforcement, 
the responsibility of the Labor Ministry, is uneven.  Labor 
organizers know of no right of workers to remove themselves 
from hazardous conditions.

[end of document]


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