The Lebanese record in regards to establishing a rule of law and ensuring the respect of human rights has in the last couple of years. However, the government’s human rights record is not what where it should be. Actions taken by the government and other civil society organizations to ensure the respect of human rights, especially the rights of detainees, have been inefficient and sometimes insufficient.
No protection mechanism, or prosecution strategy, for the prevention of arbitrary arrest and delays in trials were addressed by state institutions and security organizations. Civil societies are not influential, and the public is unaware and, or, indifferent to the many violations perpetrated by state officials. Impunity is still rife. The absence of appropriate provisions in domestic laws that ensure an effective, and preventive, legal mechanisms for dealing with such abuses make the reduction of such cases almost impossible. More complications dealing with arbitrary arrest, pre-trial detention, and long delays in trials, such as poor coordination between the judiciary and security officials, gaps in the legal process and the pursuance of suspects with no credible evidence of their criminal involvement could arise
To address these problems, ALEF, with funding from the European Union, implemented, “Promoting for a Better Protection Mechanism Against Arbitrary Arrest, Lengthy Pre-Trial Detention and Long Delays in Trial.” The project’s aim is to create civil and communal awareness, facilitate effective monitoring and reporting of these violations, and to put in place and enforce a legal protection framework for people deprived of their liberty. In order to achieve this, ALEF and the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies organized an assessment based on desk research and focus group discussions.
These activities included capacity- building sessions for different vulnerable groups such as students, journalists, and civil society activists. The purpose of the program was to raise awareness about arbitrary detention in general and to encourage the variety of groups to openly discuss arbitrary detention as a serious human rights problem. ALEF also published a report including an updated situational assessment on arbitrary detention, and findings on the Monitoring and Reporting Unit, as well as propositions for law reforms. Additionally, a billboard campaign was set up not only to raise the general public’s awareness, but, to advocate for solutions for human rights violations. At the same time, ALEF held several meetings and roundtable discussions with several decision-makers to facilitate the development of recommendations to the state. These recommendations were put forward in a lobbying campaign targeting MPs, members of the human rights parliamentarian committee, members of the administration and justice parliamentarian committee, ministers and other government and security institutions.
The program had an overall positive outcome. ALEF’s targeted groups were receptive and eager to spread awareness about arbitrary detention. The project outcomes continue to feed into ALEF’s lobbying efforts for the promotion and adoption of a protection mechanism for detainees and the abolishment of arbitrary detention.