Lebanon tries in vain to deflect UN Watch criticism of rights abuses

Statement by UN Watch
UPR of Lebanon
Agenda Item 6, UNHRC 31st Session
16 March 2016

Delivered by Mr. Hillel Neuer

I thank you, Mr. President.

The purpose of this human rights review is to make a difference for men and women on the ground, by holding governments to account. In that regard, we ask: Should human rights activists support — or object — to the today’s report on Lebanon’s human rights record?
Let me read from the report:

  • Par. 49: “Algeria commended Lebanon for its progress on economic, social and cultural rights.”
  • Par. 45: “Venezuela acknowledged the commitment of Lebanon to upholding human rights.”
  • Par. 24: “Senegal praised Lebanon’s progress.”
  • Par. 31: “Sri Lanka welcomed Lebanon’s efforts to ensure the right to education.”
  • Par. 32: “The State of Palestine commended Lebanon’s efforts to promote and protect human rights.”
  • Par. 33: “Sudan commended the National Human Rights Plan.”

Yet the truth, Mr. President, is the opposite.
Let us be clear.
The truth is that Lebanon’s human rights record received a negative rating from Freedom House, including on civil liberties and political rights.
The truth is that, as documented in a major report by Amnesty International, Lebanon continues to discriminate against Palestinians, denying their universal human rights, including the freedom to work in numerous professions and to earn a living.
Given that the Palestinian Mission and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation yesterday circulated a series of resolutions about Palestinians, why is it that not one of these resolutions—not one word—addresses the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians whose human rights are violated by Lebanon?
The truth is that, contrary to what Lebanon stated in par. 93 of this report, Hezbollah—which Lebanon there acknowledges is an element of its government—remains a terrorist group. They target civilians worldwide, and as this council’s own commission of inquiry noted, they participate in the mass slaughter in Syria.
Even the Arab League, just a few days ago, declared Hezbollah a terrorist organization. I quote from the official statement: “The Arab League foreign minister’s committee has decided on Friday to consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization.”
Mr. President,
For all of these reasons, let me be clear: the victims of human rights abuse around the world object to the adoption of this report. Thank you, Mr. President.

Lebanon Replies

Mr President, we are fully committed to the human rights, especially freedom of expression, which is in the constitution of Lebanon and other laws of the land.
Nevertheless, what we heard from some of the NGOs — we heard terms referring to part of the Lebanese fabric of society. This in our opinion does not come within this freedom.
Defining Hezbollah as a terrorist group is not within the mandate of the UPR. The UPR must be far from any politicization…

UN Watch