People accused of security-related offences faced unfair trials and some were sentenced to death. Torture and other ill-treatment by the judicial police were reported. Human rights defenders were prosecuted for reporting allegations of torture. Palestinian refugees continued to face discrimination, impeding their rights to work, health, education and adequate housing. Other refugees and asylum-seekers were detained and some were forcibly returned to their countries of origin despite risks of serious abuses there. Women remained subject to discrimination, although a law that provided for lenient penalties for perpetrators of so-called honour crimes was repealed. Migrant workers, particularly women employed as domestic workers, were inadequately protected from exploitation and abuse. Eight people were sentenced to death but there were no executions.
The coalition government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri fell in January. A political impasse followed, only ending in June when a new administration, headed by Najib Mikati and supported by Hizbullah, took office.
Tensions continued along the southern border with Israel. On 15 May, according to the UN, seven Palestinian refugees were killed and 111 people were injured when Israeli troops fired on Palestinian refugees and others who had gathered at the border to commemorate Nakba Day, some of whom attempted to cross into Israel.
At least three people were killed and others injured by Israeli cluster bomblets and landmines left in southern Lebanon in previous years.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, established by the UN Security Council to try those accused of assassinating former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005 and related crimes, issued its first indictments in June. It indicted four members of Hizbullah, who remained at liberty. Hizbullah denounced the indictments and vowed not to co-operate.Top of page
People suspected of security-related offences were arrested and at least 50 of them were tried before military courts. Some were accused of collaborating with or spying for Israel; of these, at least nine were sentenced to death. Their trials before military courts were unfair; the court, whose judges include serving military officers, are neither independent nor impartial. Some defendants alleged that they had been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in pre-trial detention in order to force them to “confess”, but the courts generally failed adequately to investigate such allegations or to reject contested “confessions”.
Cases of torture and other ill-treatment by the judicial police were reported.
The government had still not established an independent monitoring body to visit prisons and detention centres, breaching a requirement of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, which Lebanon ratified in 2008.
Several human rights activists were harassed for reporting alleged human rights violations by the security forces and political parties.
Some 300,000 Palestinian refugees, long-term residents of Lebanon, remained subject to discrimination and were prevented from accessing a range of rights available to Lebanese citizens. They were not permitted to work in certain professions or inherit property. An unknown number of Palestinian refugees continued to reside in Lebanon without an official ID card, leaving them with even fewer rights. They remained, for example, unable to register marriages, births and deaths.
Over 1,400 Palestinian refugees who fled fighting in Nahr al-Bared camp near Tripoli in the north of Lebanon in 2007 returned to the camp in 2011, but over 25,000 remained displaced.Top of page
Women continued to be discriminated against in law and practice, and to face gender-based violence, including from male relatives. However, in August the government repealed Article 562 of the Penal Code, which had allowed a person convicted of killing or injuring relatives to receive a reduction in sentence if the crime was held to have been committed to uphold family “honour”. The same month, the Penal Code was amended to define the crime of trafficking of persons and to prescribe penalties for traffickers.
Lebanese women remained unable to pass their nationality on to their husbands and children, but in September the labour laws were reformed to remove employment restrictions for non-Lebanese spouses and children of Lebanese women. The impact of these reforms was not clear by the end of 2011. Parliament also discussed but did not pass a draft law criminalizing domestic violence, including marital rape.Top of page
Foreign women employed as domestic workers continued to face exploitation and abuse, including sexual abuse, by employers and were inadequately protected under the law. However, a draft law setting out the rights of domestic workers was under discussion in the Parliament.Top of page
Dozens of refugees and asylum-seekers, mostly Iraqi and Sudanese nationals, were detained beyond the expiry of sentences imposed for irregular entry into Lebanon or after their acquittal. Many were held in poor conditions at an underground General Security facility in ‘Adliyeh in Beirut or at Roumieh Prison and were forced to choose between remaining in indefinite detention or returning “voluntarily” to their countries of origin.
At least 59 asylum-seekers or recognized refugees were forcibly deported in violation of international refugee law.
On 1 July, the government promised to seek information on the fate of “missing and detained Lebanese” from the Syrian government and take other steps to address the legacy of past gross abuses, including by creating a national committee to follow up on enforced disappearances. However, the government took few if any steps towards addressing thousands of cases of people who remained missing since the 1975-90 civil war, including victims of enforced disappearance.Top of page
Eight people were sentenced to death, including five people tried in their absence, but no executions were carried out. The last execution was in 2004.