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TITLE: LEBANON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE: FEBRUARY 1995








                            LEBANON


Lebanon is a parliamentary republic in which the President is 
by tradition a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni 
Muslim, and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies a Shi'a 
Muslim.  The Parliament consists of 128 deputies, equally 
divided between Christian and Muslim representatives.

The security forces comprise the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), 
which may arrest and detain suspects on national security 
grounds; the Internal Security Forces (ISF) which enforce laws, 
conduct searches and arrests, and refer cases to the judiciary; 
and the State Security apparatus and the Surete General, both 
of which collect information on groups that may jeopardize 
state security.

Non-Lebanese military forces control much of Lebanon.  These 
include about 30,000 Syrian troops, a contingent of Israeli 
army regulars and an Israeli-supported militia in southern 
Lebanon, and several armed Palestinian factions.  All undermine 
the authority of the central Government and prevent the 
application of law in areas not under its control.  In 1991 the 
Governments of Lebanon and Syria concluded a security agreement 
which provides a framework for cooperation between their armed 
forces.  However, Syrian military and intelligence units in 
Lebanon conduct their activities independently of the 
agreement.

In 1989 the Arab League brokered a peace settlement at Taif, 
Saudi Arabia, to end the hostilities in Lebanon.  According to 
the Taif Accord, Syrian troops were scheduled to be redeployed 
from Lebanon's coastal population areas to the Biqa' Valley, 
with full redeployment to take place thereafter.  The Syrian 
Government has refused to carry out that redeployment.  
Lebanese government officials have not pressed the issue, 
citing such reasons as the Lebanese Army's alleged unreadiness 
to take over security functions from Syrian forces.  However, 
pervasive Syrian influence over Lebanese politics and 
decisionmakers lies at the root of the Government's 
unwillingness to engage Syrian authorities on the withdrawal.  
This relationship with Syria does not reflect the will of 
significant segments of the Lebanese public.

Israel exerts control in and near its self-proclaimed "security 
1one" in southern Lebanon through its surrogate, the South 
Lebanon Army (SLA), and the presence of about 1,000 Israeli 
troops.  The SLA maintains a separate and arbitrary system of 
justice in the zone, independent of Lebanese central 
authority.  SLA officials have reportedly deported some alleged 
criminals to Israel to face legal charges.  Also in south 
Lebanon, the Iranian-backed Shi'a Muslim militia, Hizballah, 
and allied Palestinian guerillas continue to be locked in a 
cycle of raids and counterraids with Israeli forces and the SLA.

Palestinian groups operate autonomously in refugee camps 
throughout the country and maintain a separate, arbitrary 
system of justice for other Palestinians.  In 1994 the 
Government continued to consolidate its authority in the parts 
of the country under its control.  It has disarmed private 
Christian militias but has made little effort to disarm 
Hizballah and its allies, the SLA, or to reassert state control 
over the Palestinian refugee camps.

Before the 1975-89 hostilities, Lebanon was an important 
financial and commercial center.  The war weakened its 
commercial leadership and inflicted massive damage on the 
economic infrastructure.  In 1994 the free market economy 
continued to recover, as the Government took steps to restore 
confidence and implement a reconstruction program.  Although 
many citizens lack the confidence to repatriate much of the 
estimated $30 billion deposited abroad, there have been some 
significant cash flows reflecting cautious optimism in the 
Government's program.

The human rights situation continued to deteriorate.  
Government abuses included the arrest and detention of 
individuals and groups opposed to government policies and the 
presence of Syrian forces.  There were credible reports that 
government forces tortured and mistreated prisoners.  In 
February the bombing of a Maronite Christian church 
precipitated the two major human rights developments of 1994:  
the Government arrested and members of the Lebanese Forces (LF) 
party, which it claimed had carried out the bombing, and before 
filing formal charges, revoked the LF's license as a political 
party.  Second, in March the Government suspended all news 
broadcasts on the grounds that some broadcasters were using the 
church bombing to inflame sectarian tensions.  The Government 
lifted the suspension in July.  In October Parliament passed a 
new audiovisual law which most interested parties consider 
adequate to protect freedom of expression.  The LF remains 
banned.  Although the overall level of armed conflict declined, 
life and property, especially in the south, are still 
threatened by artillery and aerial attacks by the various 
contending forces.  In 1994 these forces continued to carry out 
abductions, assassinations, and terrorist bombings.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

In 1994 political killings declined as the Government further 
consolidated its authority over the country.  However, security 
or police personnel were responsible for at least three 
extrajudicial killings.  In one case, authorities at the 
Bayt-Al-Din Prison beat a prisoner, Tariq Hassaniyah, to death 
in March.  Authorities arrested the warden and five officers, 
but at the end of the year had not made public their 
investigation, nor had they brought any charges against the 
perpetrators.

Amnesty International (AI) reported that Fawzi Al-Rasi, a 
prisoner in his early thirties, died in custody on April 22.  
According to official sources, Al-Rasi died of a heart attack 
while detained at the Ministry of Defense.  However, Al-Rasi's 
colleagues maintained that his heart attack resulted from 
physical abuse.

In July, the Lebanese Association for Human Rights claimed that 
a suspect died during an interrogation conducted by narcotics 
officers.  According to the Association, citizens have lodged 
numerous complaints about the Antidrug Bureau, where officers 
reportedly detain suspects for weeks without charge; some are 
reportedly tortured.  At year's end, the Government had not 
investigated or punished those responsible for these alleged 
killings.

Various factions and unknown persons carried out 
assassinations.  On April 12, an Iraqi opposition figure, Talib 
Suhayl al-Tamimi, was assassinated in Beirut.  Security forces 
arrested two Iraqi diplomats assigned to Beirut and charged 
them with murder.  According to newspaper reports, the suspects 
admitted their guilt, but at year's end there was no movement 
towards a trial.

Rival Palestinian factions continued to engage in a cycle of 
politically motivated murders, mostly in the southern city of 
Sidon and nearby refugee camps.

On January 29, two gunmen assassinated Na'eb 'Umran 
al-Ma'ayitah, first secretary of the Jordanian Embassy in 
Beirut.  Authorities arrested and tried seven persons 
associated with the radical Abu Nidal Palestinian faction for 
the crime.  In October a court sentenced the four principal 
defendants to death and the others to 10 years in prison for 
abetting the crime.  The death sentences were commuted to life 
imprisonment at hard labor.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no known disappearances attributable to state 
security forces.  However, the fate of thousands of inhabitants 
kidnaped during the years of civil unrest is still unknown.  
Militias and non-Lebanese forces were responsible for most of 
the kidnapings.  Some victims are believed to have been 
murdered.  The Government has taken no judicial action against 
groups responsible for the kidnapings.

On May 21, Israeli commandos abducted the senior leader of an 
Islamic resistance organization, Mustafa Dirani, from his house 
in the central region of the Biqa' Valley, an area under Syrian 
control.  Dirani is detained in Israel.  Israeli authorities 
stated that they had seized Dirani to obtain information from 
him on the fate of a missing Israeli pilot, Ron Arad, who was 
shot down over Lebanon in 1986 and is still listed as missing.

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

There continued to be credible reports that the Lebanese Army 
in some instances employed torture against the members of the 
disbanded Christian militia, the Lebanese Forces (LF).  Army 
personnel beat detainees and suspended them by their wrists for 
lengthy periods.  The Government has not adequately 
investigated those accused of the abuse, nor has it punished 
anyone.

The Government made no attempt to investigate reports that 
security forces tortured several persons arrested in 1993 and 
charged them with contact with the enemy--Israel--and 
conspiracy to aid enemy forces.  According to AI, security 
forces broke the arm of one suspect, George Haddad, during an 
interrogation in 1993.  In January AI expressed concern about 
the arrest and reported torture of Samir Nasr in late 1993.  
Nasr was charged with dealing with the enemy--Israel--solely on 
the basis of a statement extracted under duress.

AI also reported that Hanna Atiq, arrested in the spring for 
his suspected involvement in the bombing of a church, was 
admitted to a hospital for injuries reportedly sustained while 
under interrogation at the Ministry of Defense.

In September the Army's intelligence services arrested several 
individuals for their alleged involvement in authoring and 
distributing a leaflet opposing Syrian influence in Lebanon.  
Ministry of Defense security officers reportedly beat the male 
detainees, hung them by their wrists, and beat them on the 
testicles during interrogation.  The officers reportedly 
stripped two female detainees of their clothing and insulted 
them.  During the interrogation, security officials did not 
allow the detainees access to their lawyers.  The Government 
charged the detainees under Article 295 of the Penal Code 
(campaign aimed at weakening the national feeling or inciting 
sectarian discord) and Article 125 of the Military Code 
(conspiracy aimed at a leader's authority or soldier's 
security).  Authorities detained the group for 23 days and then 
released them.  No date has been set for trial.

Prison conditions do not meet internationally recognized 
minimum standards.  Inmates lack heat, and there are an 
insufficient number of showers and toilets.  In September the 
Minister of Interior acknowledged publicly that the prisons are 
overcrowded, with 50 to 60 prisoners often housed to a cell.  
There are as many as 60 children detained in prisons, sharing 
the same facilities as adult prisoners.

Abuses also occurred in areas outside the State's authority, 
especially in the Palestinian refugee camps.  There were 
credible reports that members of the various Palestinian groups 
which control the camps detained and tortured their Palestinian 
rivals.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Government resorts to arbitrary arrest and detention.  
Although the law requires security forces to obtain arrest 
warrants before making arrests, the military prosecutor 
reportedly issues blank warrants to be completed after arrest 
are made.  Arresting officers are supposed to refer suspects to 
a prosecutor within 24 hours of arrest but frequently do not.

The law requires the authorities to release a suspect after 48 
hours of arrest if they do not bring formal charges against 
him.  Some prosecutors flout this requirement and detain 
suspects for long periods in pretrial confinement without a 
court order.  The law authorizes a judge to remand a suspect to 
incommunicado detention.  There is a system of bail, but felons 
are excluded from using it.  Defendants have the right to legal 
counsel, but there is no public defender's office for those who 
cannot afford a lawyer.

The army continued the practice of arbitrary arrest, detaining 
mainly the former members of the dissolved Christian militia, 
the Lebanese Forces.  It conducted most of these detentions 
after a bomb at a Maronite Christian church in the Al-Zuq 
region of Kisriwan killed 12 worshipers and injured many 
others.  The Army reportedly detained the former militiamen in 
order to carry out their investigation into the bombing.  LF 
commander Samir Ja'ja publicly stated that the Christian 
community needed to take security measures if the State was 
unable to do so.  The Army released most of the detainees after 
2 or 3 days.

In April security forces arrested Samir Ja'ja' as a suspect in 
the Al-Zuq church bombing--and also in the 1990 murders of Dany 
Chamoun, the leader of the Liberal Party, his wife, and two 
children.  Defense lawyers maintain that Ja'Ja's detention in 
an underground room at the Ministry of Defense violates the law 
and that the conditions of detention are degrading and 
inhuman.  The Government maintains that it selected the 
detention facility to safeguard Ja'ja's life from possible 
assassins.

In April Army intelligence officers arrested 12 Lebanese 
members of the Iraqi Ba'th Party and transferred some of them 
into the custody of Syrian authorities.  Security forces 
arrested another Lebanese member of that party, Rafiq Abu 
Younes, in September.  By year's end, the Government had not 
provided information about his whereabouts.

Security forces also detained persons who opposed the presence 
of Syrian forces in Lebanon (see Section 1.c.).

Local militias and non-Lebanese forces continued to conduct 
arbitrary arrests in areas outside the central Government's 
authority.  The SLA detains at least 200 Lebanese citizens and 
an undetermined number of Palestinians at the Al-Khiyam prison 
in South Lebanon.  The SLA denies detainees the right to 
correspond with family members and prohibits visits by family 
members and representatives of the International Committee of 
the Red Cross, despite receiving many requests for such visits.

Israel is known to hold several Lebanese citizens, including 
Sheikh Abdel Karim Obaid and Mustafa Dirani, who are figures 
associated with the Islamic resistance.

Palestinian refugees are subject to arrest, detention, and 
harassment by the state security forces, Syrian security 
forces, the various militias, and rival Palestinian factions.

In the recent past, the Government resorted in a few cases to 
exile as a means of punishment.  In 1991 it pardoned former 
army commander and self-proclaimed Prime Minister General 
Michel 'Awn and two aides, on condition that they depart the 
country and remain in exile for 5 years.  The Government had 
accused the three of attempting to usurp the authority of the 
State.  They remain in exile.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Lebanese judicial system is composed of the regular 
civilian courts; military courts, which try cases involving 
military personnel; the Judicial Council, which is a state 
security court; and the religious tribunals of the various 
denominations which adjudicate disputes involving marriage, 
inheritance, and personal status.

The Judicial Council is a permanent tribunal of five senior 
judges who adjudicate cases involving threats to state 
security.  On the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, 
the Cabinet decides whether to try a case before this tribunal.

The judiciary is generally impartial and independent of 
executive authority.  However, influential politicians and 
Syrian intelligence officers sometimes intervene to protect 
their clients from prosecution.

The Ministry of Justice appoints judges according to a formula 
based on religious affiliation.  Low salaries have compelled 
competent judges to resign from the bench while others have 
become susceptible to corruption and bribery.  In 1994 the 
Minister of Justice announced the nomination of 42 additional 
judges.  The shortage of judges has impeded efforts to 
adjudicate cases backloged during the years of internal 
conflict.

Trial delays are also caused by the Government's inability to 
conduct investigations in areas outside its control.  According 
to the Minister of Interior, 600 prisoners are in detention, 
some for long periods, awaiting trial.

In refugee camps, Palestinian elements operate an autonomous 
and arbitrary system of justice.  The Islamic militia, 
Hizballah, operates its own system of justice.  In February it 
stated that Islamic law would apply in the areas it controls.

In 1994 Hizballah authorities tried and executed a person 
accused of murder.  The Government did not attempt to stop the 
execution.  According to Lebanese press reports, Hizballah is 
holding in captivity Muhammad Dirani, a cousin of Mustafa 
Dirani, an Islamic leader abducted by Israeli commandoes (see 
Section l.b.).  Hizballah has reportedly accused Muhammad 
Dirani of collaborating with Israel in the abduction.

The legal system is discriminatory in its handling of so-called 
crimes of honor.  According to the Penal Code, the male killer 
of a wife, sister, or mother may avoid conviction if he can 
demonstrate that he committed the crime in response to an 
illegitimate sexual relation by the victim.

There are no known political prisoners, although the 
authorities often detain without charges political opponents of 
the Syrian and Lebanese Governments for short periods.

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

While the authorities generally show little interest in 
controlling the personal lives of citizens, they are not 
reluctant to interfere with the privacy of persons regarded as 
foes of the Government.  Laws require that prosecutors must 
obtain warrants before entering houses, except when the army is 
in hot pursuit of an armed attacker.  Militias and non-Lebanese 
forces operating outside areas of central government authority 
have frequently violated rights of privacy.  Various factions 
and the Government use informer networks and monitor telephones 
to gather information on their foes.

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

An undetermined number of civilians continue to be killed in 
South Lebanon, as Hizballah and its associated Lebanese and 
Palestinian militias, on the one hand, and Israeli forces and 
the SLA, on the other, engaged in a cycle of violence.  The 
former attacked SLA troops deployed on Lebanese soil and in 
June conducted a rocket attack on northern Israel.  Israeli 
forces conducted repeated air strikes and artillery barrages on 
purported guerrilla and terrorist targets inside Lebanon.

On June 2, Israeli helicopters attacked a Hizballah military 
training camp east of Ba'albak, killing 26 persons and injuring 
40.  In retaliation, Lebanese resistance forces, principally 
Hizballah, fired 40 Katyusha rockets at settlements in northern 
Israel.  On August 5, an Israeli helicopter raid targeted a 
residential building in the township of Dayr al-Zahrani.  Seven 
persons were killed and 17 wounded.

From July 25 to August 24, Israeli forces imposed a blockade of 
all vehicular traffic into and out of the southern Lebanon 
township of Yuhmur, permitting only pedestrian access.  
According to international observers, the blockade led to a 
shortage of potable water and an outbreak of skin diseases 
among the inhabitants.

The Government, and to a much greater extent the SLA and 
Hizballah, continue to violate international humanitarian 
standards with respect to the treatment of prisoners.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Although Lebanon has a long history of freedom of opinion, 
speech, and press, in 1994 the Government seriously infringed 
these freedoms.  From March to July, it prohibited the 
broadcast of news and political commentary by all privately 
owned television and radio stations.  The Government imposed 
the ban after dissolving the former Christian militia and 
political party, the Lebanese Forces, which it accused of 
bombing a Maronite church in Al-Zuq in February (see Section 
1.d.).  Government supporters argued that the ban was necessary 
because, in the aftermath of the bombing, privately owned 
broadcasting stations might enflame sectarian tensions.  
However, the effect was to stifle temporarily dissent and 
Lebanon's tradition of cultural and religious diversity.

The Government rescinded the ban after the Speaker of the 
Chamber of Deputies introduced a bill urging the ban's 
rescission and calling for a review of the laws on 
broadcasting.  In October Parliament passed a new audiovisual 
law which most parties consider an adequate safeguard of 
freedom of expression.

The Government has several legal tools at its disposal to 
control the freedom of expression.  The Surete General, under 
Ministry of Interior jurisdiction, is authorized to approve all 
foreign magazines and nonperiodical works including books, 
plays, and films before they are distributed on the market.  In 
1994 the Ministry prohibited the screening of an Egyptian film, 
"The Terrorist", a satire on Islamic fundamentalism, after some 
Islamic dignitaries voiced complaints.  In July Interior 
Ministry authorities prohibited the import of Al-Wasat, a 
magazine published in London, because it included an interview 
with Ghassan Tuma, a member of the dissolved LF party.  In June 
a court sentenced Tuma in absentia to 20 years for conspiracy 
to assassinate the President.

Lebanese law prohibits attacks on the dignity of the Head of 
State or foreign leaders.  The Government may prosecute 
offending journalists and publications in a special court 
empowered to try such matters.  In August the Government 
prosecuted a pro-Syrian newspaper, Al-Sharq, after it printed 
cartoons deemed insulting to the President.  The Government 
took another newspaper, Ad-Diyar, to court in September for 
"attacking the dignity" of the President.  At year's end, both 
newspapers continued to publish, but their cases were pending.

The 1991 security agreement between Lebanon and Syria contains 
a provision that effectively prohibits the publication of any 
information deemed harmful to the security of either State.  
Under the risk of prosecution, Lebanese journalists censor 
themselves on matters related to Syria.

In September the Government arrested five persons for posting 
wall bills urging a well-known signer to cancel a concert 
scheduled to benefit the reconstruction of Beirut.  The posters 
urged the cancellation to protest the city's controversial 
reconstruction plans.  The Government released them only after 
the concert was held, but did not cite them for any wrongdoing.

In 1994 the Parliament approved several amendments to the 
restrictive press regulations imposed during the civil war, 
such as Law Decree 104 of 1977.  The amendments withdrew the 
authority of the Minister of Interior to close a publication by 
decree and the authority of the Attorney General, or any court, 
to close a publication involved in litigation until a court 
renders a verdict.  Other amendments prohibit the pretrial 
detention of journalists accused in press crimes and 
imprisonment for any crime not specified in the Penal Code.

Lebanon has a strong tradition of academic freedom and a 
flourishing private educational system.  The Government does 
not usually interfere with professors, curricula, or student 
groups.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Citizens wishing to hold a public rally must obtain approval 
from the Ministry of Interior.  The Government does not apply 
this law uniformly.  In 1994 the Ministry approved requests for 
rallies from some non-Christian political factions, including 
the Shi'a Muslim Amal Movement, the mostly Druze Progressive 
Socialist Party, the Sunni Muslim group al-Ahbash, and 
supporters of the Prime Minister.  The Ministry disapproved 
requests from some Christian groups.

In April army troops fired shots in the air to disperse a crowd 
gathered at the residence of the Maronite Patriarch to protest 
the arrest of the former LF Commander Samir Ja'ja'.  However, 
the Government did not interfere with demonstrations and 
marches organized by Hizballah.

In general the Government does not interfere with the 
establishment of private organizations; however, citizens 
require government approval to establish political parties.  
However, the army intelligence service monitors the movement 
and activities of members of opposition groups.

The Ministry of Interior scrutinizes requests to establish 
political parties and to some extent monitors the activities of 
all parties.

In 1994 the Government dissolved the Lebanese Forces as a 
political party, accusing it of involvement in the Al-Zuq 
church bombing.  LF supporters claim the dissolution was 
illegal because the LF had not been found guilty of any 
wrongdoing.  Nonetheless, the Government has not made similar 
moves to dissolve Hizballah or Amal.  Neither Israel nor Syria 
allow groups openly hostile to them to operate in areas under 
their control.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The State does not interfere with the practice of religion, the 
activities of foreign clergy, or places of worship.  The 
Government officially recognizes 17 religions or denominations, 
including Christians, Muslims, Druze, and Jews.  Citizens have 
the right to convert to another religion, but converts 
frequently suffer social ostracism in this religiously 
differentiated society.

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

In general the Government does not interfere with the foreign 
travel of citizens, but obstacles remain.  Travel to Israel is 
prohibited by law, but many citizens undertake such travel via 
Israeli-controlled territory in South Lebanon.  A woman is 
required by law to obtain her husband's or father's permission 
for a passport.  There are no legal restrictions on the right 
of citizens to return.  Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon 
have the right to return after foreign travel.

Lebanese armed forces and Syrian troops maintain checkpoints in 
areas under their control.  In South Lebanon, the SLA, Israeli 
forces, and the Lebanese Army all maintain tight restrictions 
on the movement of people and goods into and out of the 
security zone.

After years of internal conflict, the recent spread of 
government authority has removed barriers that had previously 
hindered domestic travel.  The Government has encouraged the 
return to their homes of over 600,000 persons displaced during 
the civil war.  Although some people have begun to reclaim 
their homes abandoned during the war, the vast majority of 
displaced persons have not attempted to reclaim their 
property.  The resettlement process is slowed by tight 
budgetary constraints, destroyed infrastructure, the lack of 
schools and economic opportunities, and the fear that physical 
security is still lacking in some parts of the country.

In June the Government issued a decree extending citizenship to 
an estimated 120,000 stateless residents excluding Palestinian 
refugees.  Some Christian leaders criticized the move as 
numerically favoring the Muslim community and contributing to 
an imbalance among the country's religions.

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

The Constitution states that the people have the right to 
change their government in periodic free and fair elections.  
However, the 1992 parliamentary election was not prepared or 
carried out impartially.  There were widespread reports of 
irregularities and vote rigging, and non-Lebanese military 
forces exerted considerable influence over the preparation of 
lists of candidates, who were consequently assured of victory.  
The majority of Christians and many Muslims boycotted the 
election as candidates and voters to protest holding the 
election before Syrian military forces had been redeployed.  
Consequently, the election results did not reflect the full 
spectrum of the body politic and cast doubt on the people's 
ability to change their government democratically.

According to the Constitution, elections for the Parliament 
must be held every 4 years.  The Parliament elects the 
President who serves one 6-year term.  The President and 
Parliament choose the Cabinet.  According to the unwritten 
"National Pact" of 1943, the President is 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 six-to-five ratio of Christians to Muslims.

Under the national reconciliation agreement reached in Taif in 
October 1989, members of Parliament agreed to alter the 
National Pact to create a 50-50 balance between Christian and 
Muslim members of Parliament.  The Taif Accord also increased 
the number of seats in parliament and transferred some powers 
from the President to the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Women have the right to vote, and there are no legal barriers 
to participation by women in politics.  Three women were 
elected to Parliament in 1992.  Other women hold policy-level 
positions in the Government.

Palestinian refugees have no political rights.  An estimated 17 
Palestinian factions operate in Lebanon, generally organized 
around prominent individuals.  Most Palestinians live in 
refugee camps controlled by one or more factions.  The leaders 
of the refugees are not elected, nor are there any 
democratically organized institutions in the camps.

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

Several human rights groups, including the Foundation for 
Humanitarian Rights, the Lebanese Association for Human Rights, 
and the Bar Association's Office for Human Rights, operate 
freely without government interference.  There were no known 
requests by international human rights organizations to visit 
Lebanon in 1994.  The SLA has refused to allow the 
International Committee of the Red Cross and other 
international humanitarian groups to visit the Al-Khiyam prison 
in South Lebanon.

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

     Women

The Constitution calls for "social justice and equality of 
duties and rights among all citizens without prejudice or 
favoritism."  In practice, aspects of the law and traditional 
mores discriminate against women.  Only males may confer 
citizenship on their spouses and children.  In some cases, this 
means that children born to Lebanese mothers and stateless 
fathers are themselves stateless.

The law stipulates that a woman must obtain her husband's 
approval to open a business or engage in trade.  The Parliament 
has not yet acted on an amendment introduced to change this 
law.  Women may own property but often cede effective control 
over it due to cultural reasons.  The law also accords 
preferential treatment to males accused of crimes of honor (see 
Section 1.e.).

Religious groups have their own family and personal status laws 
administered by religious courts.  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 may divorce easily, Muslim 
women may do so only with the concurrence of their husbands.

Women have employment opportunities in government, medicine, 
law, academia, the arts, and, to a lesser degree, in business.  
Social pressure against women pursuing a career is strong in 
some parts of society.  Males sometimes exercise considerable 
control over female relatives, restricting their activities 
outside the home or contact with friends and relatives.

Violence against women occurs; the press frequently reports 
cases of rape.  However, there are no authoritative statistics 
on the extent of spousal violence.  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.  The Government has 
not expressed an interest in the problem of violence against 
women nor has it made an effort to combat it.

     Children

The plight of children is a growing concern but the Government 
has not allocated funds specifically to protect them.  An 
undetermined number of children are neglected, abused, 
exploited, and even sold to adoption agents.  There are 
hundreds of abandoned children in the streets, begging and 
cleaning car windows; others are hired illegally at low wages.  
Juvenile delinquency is rising; 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.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

According to the United Nations, an estimated 250,000 
Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon.  The Government ended its 
practice of denying work permits to Palestinians in 1991.  
Nonetheless, Palestinians still encounter job discrimination.  
Palestinians and other aliens may own land 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.

     Religious Minorities

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

     People with Disabilities

Over 100,000 people have sustained disabilities during the 
civil war.  The care for the disabled is generally a function 
performed by families.  Most efforts to secure education, 
independence, health, and shelter for the disabled are made by 
some 100 private organizations for the handicapped.  In 
general, these organizations are poorly funded.

Lebanon's heavily damaged cities make no accommodation for the 
disabled.  Building codes have no requirements for ease of 
access.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

All workers, except government employees, may establish and 
join unions and have a legal right to strike.  Workers have the 
right to elect their union leaders by secret ballot.  About 
600,000 workers are organized in 160 labor unions and 
associations.  Twenty-three unions, with about 250,000 workers, 
are affiliated with the General Confederation of Workers 
(CGTL).  In January the CGTL split and a second union group was 
formed--the Federation of Sectoral Syndicates.  Unions are free 
to affiliate with international organizations.

In general the Government does not control or restrict unions, 
although some union leaders allege that the Government has 
tried to intervene in elections in favor of certain union 
officials.

Palestinian refugees may organize their own unions, but few do 
so because of continued restrictions on their right to work.

Unions exercised their right to strike on numerous occasions.  
Laws prohibit retribution against strikers and there were no 
known instances of such retribution during the year.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The right of workers to organize and bargain exists in law and 
practice.  Most workers' groups engage in some form of 
collective bargaining with their employers.  Stronger unions 
are able to obtain significant gains for their members; weaker 
unions rely on the mediation of the CGTL.  There is no 
government mechanism to promote voluntary labor-management 
negotiations.  Workers have no statutory protection against 
antiunion discrimination.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Although forced labor is not prohibited by law, the Government 
does not condone it.  However, employers sometimes force some 
categories of foreign workers, especially those working as 
domestic servants, to remain in situations amounting to coerced 
labor.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The 1946 Labor Code stipulates that workers between the ages of 
8 and 16 may not work more than 7 hours a day, or between 7 
p.m. and 6 a.m.  The Code also prohibits children from engaging 
in certain types of mechanical work.  There is a general 
prohibition against "jobs out of proportion with a worker's 
age."  The Labor Ministry is tasked with enforcing these 
requirements, but it has few resources and a demoralized and 
sometimes corrupt staff.  The Ministry does not rigorously 
apply the law.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The Labor Ministry sets the legal monthly minimum wage at $117 
(197,000 Lebanese pounds), but does not enforce it in the 
private sector.  The minimum wage is not sufficient to support 
a worker and his or her family.  Many workers hold more than 
one job.

The 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 employers to 
take adequate precautions for employee safety.  The Ministry of 
Labor has been lax in enforcement.  There is no law or policy 
giving workers the right to remove themselves from hazardous 
conditions.
(###)

[end of document]

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