Lebanon fails to address social rights, continues to protect impunity: Amnesty International

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2023-03-28 | 06:01
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Lebanon fails to address social rights, continues to protect impunity: Amnesty International
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Lebanon fails to address social rights, continues to protect impunity: Amnesty International

Amnesty International has issued Report 2022/23: The state of the world's human rights, which analyses the human rights situation in 156 countries; in which the organization reflected that 2022 witnessed new and renewed conflicts, with many amounting to war crimes, repression of freedoms, economic crises, with marginalized communities hit the hardest, including women, girls, and LGBTI people.  

Regarding Lebanon, Amnesty International reported that the country has been facing a presidential vacancy, adding that Lebanese authorities failed to address essential economic and social rights, leaving the citizens without access to healthcare and water.   

Additionally, the organization stated that impunity continues to protect perpetrators, and defamation laws were used against the authorities' critics.  

Migrant workers, including women domestic workers, continue to face abuse under the kafala system, and women still face discrimination in terms of law and practice.   

Further, the Lebanese authorities increased the deportation of Syrian refugees, despite the high risks of human rights abuses in Syria, and banned public LGBTI events during Pride month.  

The report stated that authorities failed to address the deepening economic crisis because of a political stalemate, denying the right to access medication, namely for cancer and other chronic diseases, which "remained unavailable and unaffordable to most of the population since the government failed to establish an adequate emergency social security plan to replace the subsidies that were lifted in November 2021."  

It states that patients searching for free and low-cost treatment at public healthcare centers increased by 62 percent since the start of the economic crisis and the Lebanese state failed to provide medical care for prisoners.  

Lebanese were also denied the right to water after failing to ensure access to clean public water. Additionally, hundreds of new cases of hepatitis A were reported in contaminated water, leading to cholera cases.  

Impunity is still present, according to the report, protecting officials and security personnel from accountability regarding human rights violations, including the Beirut Port explosion investigations, which remain frozen.  

Amnesty International expressed that the country still witnesses failure to respect freedom of expression, as defamation laws continue to provide "grounds for security and military apparatuses to control expression critical of the authorities, with at least three summonses and investigations taking place in 2022."  

Moreover, unlike previous years, the Labor Minister did not discuss reforms for the kafala system, "which increases the risk of labor exploitation of migrant workers and leaves women with little prospect of obtaining redress."  

Refugees also lack rights, as the country hosts large numbers per capita, with around 1.5 million Syrian refugees, stated Amnesty International. "In September, in what amounts to "constructive refoulement," the prime minister charged the director of the GSO to resume the plan of returning Syrian refugees to Syria, treating all regions in Syria as safe for returns, despite the documented risk of serious persecution upon return."  

Lebanon's authorities also continued restricting LGBTI people and other organizations supporting their rights. On June 24, the Interior Minister banned gatherings during Pride month.  

"The authorities did not offer protection to the peaceful marches, nor did they take action against those inciting violence, and the LGBTI groups canceled their protest as a result," said the organization  

While highlighting Lebanon's failure to tackle climate change, "even though the government had committed in March 2021 to a conditional emissions reduction target of 31 percent by 2030 and increased its unconditional emissions reduction target to 20%, it did not announce a new NDC in 2022."
 

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