Assisting Lebanon in the implementation of recommendations from international human rights mechanisms including the UPR

Summary


About the project

The regional Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) launched the project "Supporting Lebanon in the implementation of the UPR recommendations" with funding from the European Union in 2015. The importance of universal periodic review, its impact and associated recommendations on the promotion and protection of human rights in all states are emphasized as an international mechanism to ensure the universality of the application and equal treatment of all states with regard to the monitoring of human rights situations.

This project is one of eight funded by the European Union under the “Social Justice Programme” (SJP). The SJP’s objective is to advocate for democracy, human rights and social justice in Lebanon, promoting good governance and gender equality at its core. Overall, the SJP supports the strengthening of the institutional framework for the protection of human rights and the development of democratic governance in Lebanon.

Key project data

• Implementation period: July 2015 – Mar 2019
• Beneficiaries: the Office of the State Minister of Human Rights (MoHR); human rights focal points in relevant line ministries; officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Prime Minister’s office; the Ministry of Justice; the ISF and LAF human rights' services; the Institute of Judicial Studies; the National Council for People with Disabilities (NCOD); human rights NGOs (non-governmental organisations); members of the parliamentarians’ Human Rights Committee; CSOs(civil society organisations), the media, the public at large
• Budget: €1,499,999
• Overall objective: national institutions and civil society take sustainable measures to uphold Lebanon’s international human rights obligations Project purpose
• To strengthen the capacity of government organisations and officials with regard to institutional protection of human rights and accountability mechanisms as per the UPR recommendations for Lebanon accepted in March 2016.
• To enhance the capacity of Lebanese civil society actors to monitor the implementation of UPR recommendations as well as to lobby on the “not accepted” UPR recommendations and to effectively engage in the third cycle of the UPR.


Results

• Duty bearers’ knowledge, understanding and responsiveness to Lebanon’s international commitments are enhanced.
• Duty bearers’ knowledge and understanding on main human rights challenges are enhanced
• Key human rights institutions and structures, including NHRI (National Human Rights Institution) and NPM (National Preventive Mechanism) are established.
• Higher implementation rate of domestic and international human rights legislation e.g. law number 220/2000 relating to people with disabilities.
• General public awareness of their rights and their ability to participate in decision making and monitoring of human rights are enhanced.

Activities

• Support MoHR in establishing a well-resourced Secretariat for a National Coordination Mechanism entrusted with coordinating efforts among various stakeholders to ensure high quality and timely reporting to and interaction with the human rights mechanisms
• Build the capacity of National Coordination Mechanism’s on international human rights treaties and reporting obligations
• Support MoHR, through the Secretariat of the National Coordination Mechanism, in establishing and developing a work plan for a national-level coordination mechanism to asses and monitor implementation of Lebanon’s international obligation
• Providing specialised trainings, expertise and conducting studies to fulfil the needs for enhanced reporting
• Support MoHR in organising National Consultations with various stakeholders as part of UPR second report preparations
• Support MoHR in organising national consultation following the UPR second review to analyse and plan for responding to the approved recommendation
• Provide the human rights committee at the Lebanese parliament with studies to bridge the knowledge gap in human rights related areas
• Provide technical expertise on amending and drafting legislation to ensure Lebanon’s compliance with its international human rights obligations
• Establish human rights directorate responsible for developing, revising and amending legislation in conformity with international human rights standards and best practices
• Advocacy meetings with the Parliament to pass the law on establishing NHRI and NPM
• Study tour for newly elected NHRI/NPM commissioners to visit ICC and OHCHR to better understand accreditation process
• Organise capacity development workshops for NHRI and NPM on key functions
• In collaboration with NCOD and civil society organisations examine all the relevant laws relating to education, health and other services and identify legal gaps and recommend amendments
• Hold a national conference to discuss findings and bring out national recommendations
• Organize media campaigns to raise the awareness of the general public on:UPR as a mechanism to ensure states’ adherence to human rights (what entails, who is involved, the role of the civil society and the general public); Recommendations approved by the State of Lebanon (progress); Lebanon’s preparations for the second review in 2015
• Organise training programmes for grassroots organisations to conduct mobile campaigns across Lebanon to provide citizens with information on their basic rights.
• Develop and implement call for proposals targeting civil society organisations around certain themes: a) Engagement with international human rights protection mechanisms particularly, the forthcoming UPR review for Lebanon; b) engagement in and promotion of(UPR recommendations- accepted and not accepted; and awareness raising activities on the UPR process and outcomes in remote areas; and d) financially support grassroots in remote areas to hold training workshop on human rights issues.
• The project will cooperate with the LAF to develop IHRL and IHL course for the LAF Academy. The project will ensure the proper implementation of the substance/course through various monitoring mechanisms and processes.
• The project will organize as well a Training of Trainers (ToT) for at least 10 to 15 Senior LAF Officers on the implementation of the curricula from a human rights-based approach to enable them to transfer the acquired knowledge to their peers and strategize the curricula in the Academy courses.
• A study tour for at least five successful Senior LAF Officers to similar institution that has witnessed a good practice on the implementation of the Code of conduct from which they can gain comparative experience according to human rights international standards.
• The project will cooperate with the Judiciary Council to develop a compulsory human rights law course for the students of the Judiciary Academy. The project will ensure the proper implementation of the course through various monitoring mechanisms and processes.
• The project will organize as well a Training of Trainers (ToT) for at least 10 to 15 judges on the implementation of the course from a human rights-based approach to enable them to transfer the acquired knowledge to their peers and strategize the course in the Academy curricula.
• A study tour for at least five judges to Europe to visit international human rights legal institutions, will be organized, to benefit from international experiences in this regard and exchange best practices in enhancing the court’s rulings system in the country.

Updates

In January 2017 a first call for proposals was launched, which covered the themes of:

1. Gender inequality
2. Torture
3. Human trafficking: Syrian refugees and Lebanese
The sub-grantees and their projects are:

o Legal Agenda - Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in Lebanon
The project aims at combating trafficking in persons in Lebanon through making the legal framework for court rulings and government policies more preventive. The project’s activities are mainly focused around the follow-up, monitoring and commenting on the trials and/or rulings in human trafficking cases in the courts of Beirut and Mount Lebanon. The project seeks to produce and disseminate a report on government policies and on practices by authorities that may facilitate human trafficking (with a focus on domestic workers) and on the work of the anti-human trafficking and vice squad, in addition to filing one court case (a strategic litigation case), organising a seminar to discuss the case and producing advocacy videos in this regard.

o The Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) - Tackling Gender Inequality to Achieve Inclusive Development in Lebanon
The project aims at tackling gender inequality in Lebanon to achieve inclusive development through building an effective coalition of women's rights and wider human rights organisations committed to advancing women's economic and social rights through engagement with the treaty body, UPR, UN special procedures and regional human rights monitoring processes.This is with a view to enabling multi-stakeholder dialogue platforms on women's economic and social rights issues, engaging with national policy-makers, the NHRI (to be established) and media within the framework of the implementation of UPR recommendations as a step to the achievement of SDGs.

o Centre Libanais des Droits de l’Homme (CLDH) - Joining Efforts to Effectively Uphold Lebanon’s Commitments in the Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The project aims at joining efforts to effectively uphold Lebanon's commitments in the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This is to be achieved through increasing the commitment amongst key decision-makers to establish an effective national preventive mechanism (NPM) and a law criminalising torture that guarantee the fulfilment of Lebanon's obligations relating to torture prevention.In addition, this is to be reached through contributing to the harmonization of advocacy undertaken by NGOs, lawyers and other stakeholders in the promotion of proper rights-based torture prevention governance throughout the implementation of the action.

o Life Institute - Human Trafficking in Lebanon
The project aims at addressing human trafficking in Lebanon through identifying and protecting potential victims of trafficking and forced labour. Further, the project seeks to educate and raise awareness among Syrian refugees about human rights and trafficking for them to become sensitized to social violations.Last, the project ambitions to develop close links with the victims of human trafficking violations with the cooperation of local authorities, especially the Internal Security Forces, for the purpose of the elimination and protection of human trafficking and forced labour.

It is the first time there is a project of this nature in Lebanon since there was no commission in charge of reporting. This created internal monitoring mechanisms on what was achieved in terms of human rights as well as an evaluation of the ratified treaties. The process will necessitate some time. Given we are now archiving the collected data, we are also supervising the implementation of the ratified treaties to improve human rights and answering the reports and comments on the treaties’ implementation: this will contribute to greater social justice in Lebanon. Farooq el Moghrabi, Advisor to the Minister of State for Human Rights