Lebanon: Irene Khan urges action on human rights

(Beirut: 27 June) Secretary General Irene Khan called on top Lebanese officials today to reaffirm their commitment to human rights by taking concrete action, including the creation of a fully independent judicial system.   In a meeting with President Michel Suleiman, Ms. Khan urged him to show leadership for human rights issues during his term in office.   Ms. Khan, who also met with Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, asked all three leaders to work towards the establishment of a fully independent judicial system for Lebanon as a first step towards ending impunity. She stressed the need for full and independent investigations of human rights abuses during the recent incidents of political violence.   She also called on Lebanon to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.   Welcoming the initiative of the Parliament to develop a National Human Rights Plan, Ms. Khan said a widespread consultation on the project was needed.   She called for more protection for the rights of foreigners in Lebanon, in particular Palestinian and Iraqi refugees and migrant workers.   On Saturday, Ms. Khan will receive an Honorary Doctoral Degree from the American University of Beirut, in recognition for her contribution to human rights.