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far are owned by, or closely associated with, important government figures. Some of the approved stations are not yet operational, while a number of popular stations associated with opposition to the government have been refused licenses, ostensibly for failing to comply with the law.

A score of books were banned by the Surete Gencrale. Some French books on the current situation, especially those which displayed sympathy to General Michel ‘Awn, are not allowed to sell in Lebanon. A book in French on the future of Christianity in the Middle East is on the list of banncd books. A wholc scries on Islam, printed in Arabic by Abou Mousa al-Hariri, were confiscated in 1994. An anti-Maronite book by Muhammad Za'ayter was banned in the same year. In 1995 a poctry book by Abdo Wazin, “The Garden of Scoses”, was judged by the censor to be obsccac and was banned.

In May 1996 the Surete Generale confiscated all issues of the book entitled "Remove Paul's Mask from the Face of Christ," by the Saudi Arabian author Ahmad Zaki. The book was determined by the Surete Generale to dcfame Christianity. This list is far from being cxhaustive. It is practically impossible to draw a complete list of the books which are printed abroad and are not allowed to sell in Lebanon. Even the list of books by Lebanese authors which is banned or confiscated is partial as many authors will re-edit the manuscript in accordance with the suggestions of the official of the Surete Generale.

The Interior Ministry's Public Security Department is empowered to censor movies . All movies dealing with Israel are banned. No distinction seems to exist between movies on Israel and those which deal with Jewish themes. "Shindler's List " was never screened in Lebanon . In 1996, this department reportedly twice censored the scenes from the forcign movie "Independence Day" to remove scenes with Jewish characters, and Hizbullah later demanded a complete ban on the film because onc of its heroes (played by actor Judd Hirsch) is a Jew. Two Egyptian movies which criticize Muslim fundamentalism were initially banncd but later on were allowed.

In September 1996 a public prosecutor charged a singer, Marcel Khalifc, with demeaning rcligious rituals. The same prosecutor also changed Andre Yousef Haddad with demeaning religious rituals in his book "The Entrance to Arab Unity." However, on September 21, facing rising criticism from various factions, the Prime Minister asked the Justice Minister to drop the charges brought against Khalife. The charges against Haddad were dropped by an investigating judge on January 8, 1997.

Lebanon has a strong tradition of academic freedom and a flourishing private educational system. In many, though not in all, universitics, the students are entitled by the university bylaws to clect representatives. These elections were never entirely free of attempts by the government to influence the results. We have solid grounds to assert that in post Taif-Lebanon these attempts are intensified.

Freedom of expression is never a license to incite racial and religious hatred. Articlc 22, para. 2 of the Intercational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is violated by Lebanese officials almost on a daily basis. Religious hatred is not restricted to anti-Semitism but encompasses derogatory statements by many politicians and religious leaders against other communities and individuals.

Article 20 72. There are no new legislative provisions and no particular problems to report. However, a deep

rooted change in attitudes should be noted: all Lebanese agree that hatred, hostility and violence

among them must be rooted out. 73. In external relations, the Government has become im'olved in the peace process with Israel.

Comments Article 22, para. 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is violated by Lebanesc officials almost on a daily basis. Religious hatred is not restricted to anti-Semitism but encompasses derogatory statements by many politicians and religious leaders against other communities and individuals.

Article 21 74. With regard to what was stated in connection with article to the Government has temporarily

prohibited demonstrations and gatherings in order to prevent a return to the anarchy and armed conflicts which caused hundreds of thousands of victims, weakened the State and jeopardized national unity and with a view to the legislative elections in October.

Comments Addressed in a previous commentary.

Article 22 75. In accordance with the Lebanese law, acrociations may be established freely and made public

simply by means of a statement deposited with the Ministry of the Interior or any other ministry concerned (National Education, etc.) and indicating the goals of the association, the names and addresses of its founders and a copy of its statutes. A receipt is issued for the statement and is published in the official Gazette. The establishment of an association and its acquisition of legal personality are therefore not subject to prior authorization. At present, however, and in view of the current situation, as referred to in this report in connection with articles 4 and 21, such

receipts are not always issued automatically. Article 15 of the Public Officials Statute (Decree-Law No.112 of 12 June 1959). prohibits public officials from forming trade unions, striking or making collective demands.


Although the Constitution provides for freedom of assembly the government restricts this right. Any group wishing to organize a rally must obtain the prior approval of the Interior Ministry, which does not render decisions uniformly. The government banned all rallies in 1996 but made an exception during the parliamentary clections. Various political factions, supportive of the government or of opposition tendencies held rallies without obtaining government permission.

These recent developments mark a progress in comparison to the first phase of post-Taif Lebanon. In September 1993 the government ordered the security forces to open fire on a peaceful demonstration organized by Hizbullah in the southern suburbs of Beirut. Nine were killed and over 40 were injured.

The labor unions, in particular, encountered throughout the past years difficulties to obtain permission to exercise their constitutional right to demonstrate.

The Constitution provides for the freedom of association. This right was generally respected in pre-war Lebanon, particularly in the 1960s when political parties, from the extreme left to the extreme right, were licensed. In 1992, however, this right was trimmed and dozens of organizations, including four opposition parties, were dissolved. In 1994, following the dynamiting in February of a Church, the government suspected the Lebanese Forces Party to be behind the terrorist act and decreed its dissolution. Despite the court ruling in 1996, which declared the leader of the Lebanese Porces, and by extension, his party, not guilty, the dissolution decree was not rescinded.

In the latter part of 1996, the minister of interior disclosed some of the ideas entertained by the government in its draft on the “law on political party organization". His declaration triggered an outcry when it was made known that all parties must provide the ministry of interior with a register of all members as well as the minutes of all party moetings. The Army Intelligence Service monitors the movement and activities of the opposition groups.

Unlike the first decades of independent Lebanon when the government in general did not interfere with the establishment of social, cultural, sports and private associations, post-Taif Lebanon makes a privilege out of this right. A case in point is the refusal of the Ministry of Interior in 1996 to grant a permit to the Lebanese Association for the Democratization of Elections, an independent monitoring group, declaring it noncxistcnt.

Neither Israel nor Syria allows groups openly hostile to them to operate in arcas under their control

Article 23 Since the initial report and apart from improvement in the legal status of women, as referred to in this report in connection with article 3, there have been no anendments to legislation and no particular problems with regard to the fanıily and marriage.

[blocks in formation]

Article 24 78. Since the initial report, considerable improvements have been made with regard to the protection

of children, including:

(a) The adoption in 1983 of the Disabled Persons' Act, intended to protect disabled persons,

whose numbers increased considerably during the 16 years of armed conflict, a large

percentage of whom are children; (b) The introduction of a compulsory medical examination before marriage for both men and

women so as to reduce the risks of children being born with congenital defects; (c) The recent submission of a bill making 15 years the mininium age for child labour; (d) The establishment of the Parliamentary Commission on the Rights of the Child, in

addition to the already eristing parliamentary Commission on Rules of Procedure and

Human Rights;
(e) The establishment of the Higher Council for Children, made up of representatives of the

Government and of private associations;
(1) Lebanon's accession to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 14 May 1991.

Comments There are few legal and far fewer practical protections of children in Lebanon. Education is not compulsory, and many children take jobs at a young age to help support their families. In lower income families, boys generally get more education, while girls stop their education to work, or remain at home to do housework.

An undetermined number of children are neglected, abused, exploited, and even sold to adoption agencies. There are hundreds of abandoned children in the streets nationwide, some of whom survive by begging, others by working at low wages. According to a UN Children Fund (UNICEF) study, 60 percent of working children are below 13 years of age and 75 percent of them ear wages below two-thirds of the minimum wage. Juvenile delinquents wait in ordinary prisons for trial and remain there after sentencing. Although their number is very small, there is no adequate place to hold delinquent girls, and they are currently held in the women's prison in Baabda. Limited financial resources have hindered efforts to build adequate facilities to rehabilitate delinquents. However, the Higher Relic Committee allotted some funds to the Association for the Protection of Juveniles to lease a two-story building in Ba'asir in order to accommodate 50 juvenile delinquents.

There are neither child welfare programs nor government institutions to oversee the implementation of children's programs. The Committee for Children's Rights has been lobbying for legislation to improve the conditions of children. The Parliament passed a law to drop the use of the word "illegitimatc" on the identity cards of children born out of wedlock. The Ministry of Health requires the establishment of health records for every child up to 18 years.

Article 35 79. Like article 95 of the Constitution, the National Covenant (an unwritten constitutional agreement

concluded in 1943) provides for the distribution of political posts in Government (members of Parliament, ministers, Prime Alinister, President of the Chamher of Deputies and President of the Republic) among the various religious conimunities. This distribution has been scrupulously respected and has been maintained as a transitional measure in the Tais Agreement (see the updates core document). Il’hich nevertheless provides for its gradual repeal. This was reflected in

the new wording of article 95 of the Constitution (Constitutional Act of 21 September 1990). 80. The equitable distribution of all civil sen'ice posts among the communities was ensured by article

95 of the Public Oficials' Statule (The above -nientioned Decree-low No. 112). Under the new article 95 of the Constitution, it is now limited to first-category and related functions. According 10 this article. "These posts shall be shared equally benveen Christians and Aluslims and no function shall be reserved for a particular community, in accordance with the principles of specialization and competence."


An accurate presentation of the situation.

Articles 26 and 27 81. There is nothing to report in connection with these articles, apart from what was stated in the

initial report and in connection with other articles in this report.

Comments The rights of ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their language are well applied in Lebanon.


Tuesday June 17 1997

Beirut under growing pressure over restrictions on food and cars

Public outcry over import curbs

car emissions. "Pollution can
the poor, who buy cheaper However, Mr Kamal She only get worse," said a used
The Lebanese government is used cars, face a heavier tax hadi, a research director at car dealer.
coming under 'increasing burden.

the Lebanese Centre for Pol- "Most people will no lon-
pressure to rescind protec- "The measures are com- icy Studies, an independent ger be able to afford a new
tionist measures and pletely arbitrary. They do think-tank, believed the car. Instead of promoting
changes in import policies not have any rational expla- main beneficiaries would be replacement of old cars, the
which have sparked unex. nation," said Miss Helena Syria's agricultural exports new tax will force people to
pectedly strong opposition, Lati, a banker. "There has which would be boosted sig. keep using older, more pollu-
even from within the ruling been no consultation (with nificantly as foreign compe.' ting cars.
industrialists, trade associa- tition was eliminated.

Economists also pointed
The introduction of the tions and the general public) Syrian exporters are to a out that the new tax regime,
unpopular measures also and no consideration of what large extent immune to the if implemented, could accen-
threatens to undermine the the effects might be."

measures, as border controls tuate inequality.
credibility of Mr Rafik Har. The second set of mea. between the two countries "What this will create is a
iri, the prime minister, who sures involves stringent are ineffective. Farming new class of privileged," said
was appointed on a platform restrictions on food imports experts have said the food an economist close to the
of market-oriented reforms. including a total ban on import curbs could not government. "The new tax

The government last week products such as ice-cream, themselves improve produc will mean that only a minor-
failed to convince a sceptical cream cheese, eggs and sev- tion but could cause smug. ity will be able to afford new
public that one of the new eral fruits and vegetables. gling, increase prices and cars," he added, referring to
measures - duties of up to The government said the reduce quality.

members of parliament and
200 per cent on imported measures aimed to alleviate Car importers are arguing army and security officers,
cars - was justified on envi. rural poverty, reduce the that the punitive tariffs will who are exempted from
ronmental grounds. A lower trade deficit and achieve not reduce congestion and import duties.

46-636 98-7

By Samer Iskandar in Beirut limit of L£5m ($3,200) means food self-sufficiency.

(202) 686 4844
Washington, DC 20045

2077 National Press Bldg.
andis Lebanese American Organizations

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