Lebanon

Last updated: 12 November 2019

Update

Facing a deteriorating economy and resulting liquidity crisis, the government’s 2020 budget included new taxes, such as tobacco, gasoline and some social media platforms such as Whatsapp. In response, anti-government protests demanding the downfall of the regime and the cabinet broke out in North, South, Bekaa, and Beirut, cutting off vital roads and highways. Videos shot by the media and participants show excessive force by security personnel. Groups loyal to the government, particularly from Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement, harassed and confronted protesters, claiming their right to freedom of movement. Despite the few clashes between the anti-government protesters and Lebanese army, the protesters showed high sense of loyalty and respect towards the army and security forces. Journalists were also confronted, threatened, and verbally abused on-air. Other images, which have not been verified, show protesters being forced to lie on the grounds face down while being arrested by security forces. All protesters who were arrested were released the same day. Protests have continued, becoming more organized and persistent, with continuing calls for all political leaders to step down. Participants have set discussion circles to go over the situation and the plans to keep the revolution alive.

Prime Minister Saad el Hariri and President Michel Aoun addressed the crowds, and Hariri suggested a paper of radical solutions and reforms alongside a zero-discrepancy budget free of any taxes. However, this proposal did not satisfy protesters. Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nassrallah also addressed the protesters, stating that the government would not step down. He also warned of chaos and security instability if the protests persisted with the same strategy of blocking roads.

After 13 days of protests and road blockades, Prime Minister Hariri resigned in October 2019. His resignation came after hundreds of men affiliated with political figures in power attacked the protesters in Beirut, beating them with sticks, breaking their tents and stalls. Lebanese army and security forces opened the main blocked roads and vital highway one day after Hariri’s resignation.

Introduction

In recent years, through improvements to implementation, Lebanon has established one of the most enabling legal and regulatory environments for civil society in the entire Arab world. The Lebanese NGO law is the 1909 Ottoman Law on Associations, which has remained in force for more than 100 years. Although the Ottoman Law is quite liberal, it notably diverges from the French Law on Associations from which it is derived by requiring that newly formed associations notify the government immediately after they are created. “Secret” or undeclared associations are prohibited and subject to immediate dissolution.

For many years Lebanese authorities misapplied the Law on Associations, for instance by often taking months – in some extreme cases, years – to deliver a receipt of notification. Without this receipt, associations could not take full advantage of the rights and privileges afforded to registered, legal entities. In 2006, the government issued a new Ministerial Circular with the aim of improving implementation of the Law on Associations, most importantly by requiring that receipts be given within 30 days of the date of notification. Nonetheless, civil society organizations continue to face delays in obtaining a notification receipt despite having fulfilled the filing requirements.

While the Law on Associations is perceived as very enabling, NGOs in Lebanon struggle for other reasons. Without a public fund for NGOs or dedicated government budget support, NGOs’ sources of funding are scarce, making them vulnerable to becoming dependent on private funders and utilized for political or sectarian purposes. Further, the influx of refugees from Syria has strained Lebanon’s resources and security, and challenged NGOs’ ability to play a constructive role. The government’s desire to regulate the response to the Syrian crisis has led to tighter restrictions on NGO activities, particularly economic support programs.

In October 2016, after more than two years of deadlock while the presidency remained vacant, Lebanon’s parliament finally elected a president, Michel Aoun. Soon after assuming office, President Aoun appointed a new cabinet including four new ministries that work on issues affecting civil society: The State Ministry for Women’s Affairs, the State Ministry for Human Rights, the State Ministry for Refugee Affairs, and the State Ministry for Anti-Terrorism. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen whether President Aoun and his new government will advance issues and legislation in Lebanon that support civil society and civic freedoms, including a new law on non-religious foundations.

Organizational FormsAssociations
Note: A number of laws govern religious endowments or foundations, but there is no law allowing for the creation of non-religious foundations. A separate law governs cooperatives.
Registration BodyThe Ministry of Interior is the main registration body. (The Ministry of Social Affairs approves registration for organizations working in the field of social affairs, while the Ministry of Youth and Sports does likewise for youth- and sports-related organizations.)
Approximate NumberAt least 8,500, including at least 200 local branches of international organizations, according to the Ministry of Interior.
Barriers to EntryMandatory notification of association establishment.
Barriers to Activities“Secret” or undeclared associations are prohibited.
Barriers to Speech and/or AdvocacyProvisions of the Penal Code and the Audio-Visual Media Law, among others, are used to prosecute individuals for criticizing the government.
Barriers to International Contactn/a
Barriers to Resourcesn/a
Barriers to AssemblyGovernment has wide discretion to prevent assemblies; assemblies are banned on public roads; and there are excessive criminal penalties for “illegal” assemblies.
Population6,229,794 (2017 est.)
CapitalBeirut
Type of GovernmentRepublic
Life Expectancy at BirthMale: 76.5 years
Female: 79.1 years (2017 est.)
Literacy RateMale: 76.5 years
Female: 79.1 years (2017 est.)
Religious GroupsMuslim (Shia, Sunni, Druze, Isma’ilite, Alawite, Nusayri): 54%, Christian (Maronite, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Chaldean, Assyrian, Coptic, Protestants): 40%; Other: 6% (2012 est.)
Ethnic GroupsArab: 95%, Armenian: 4%, Other: 1%
GDP Per Capita (PPP)$19,500 (2017 est.)

Source: The World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2018.

Ranking BodyRankRanking Scale
(best – worst possible)
UN Human Development Index80 (2018)1 – 187
World Bank Rule of Law Index21 (2018)100 – 0
World Bank Voice & Accountability Index32 (2018)100 – 0
Transparency International138 (2018)1 180
Freedom House: Freedom in the WorldStatus: Partly Free
Political Rights: 4
Civil Liberties: 4 (2019)
Free/Partly Free/Not Free
1 – 7
1 – 7
Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index44 (2019)178 – 1

International and Regional Human Rights Agreements

Key International AgreementsRatification*Year
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)Yes1972
Optional Protocol to ICCPR (ICCPR-OP1)No
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)Yes1972
Optional Protocol to ICESCR (OP-ICESCR)No
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)Yes1971
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)Yes1997
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against WomenNo
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)Yes1991
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW)No
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)Yes2007
Refugee ConventionNo
Key Regional AgreementsRatification*Year
Arab Charter on Human RightsYes2011

* Category includes ratification, accession, or succession to the treaty

Constitutional Framework

The Lebanese Constitution was adopted in 1926 and became the foundation for the Lebanese Republic when the country gained its independence in 1943. It was most recently amended in 1989 in an effort to end Lebanon’s 15-year civil war. Article 13 of the Constitution provides: “The freedom to express one’s opinion orally or in writing, the freedom of the press, the freedom of assembly, and the freedom of association shall be guaranteed within the limits established by law.”

National Laws and Regulations Affecting Sector

Relevant national legislation includes the following:
1. Ottoman Law on Associations of 1909 [English] [عربي]
2. Ottoman Law on Cooperative Societies of 1909
3. Ministry of Interior and Municipalities Circular 10/AM/2006 of 2006 [English] [عربي]
4. Legislative Decree No. 87 on Public Utility Organizations of 1977

Pending NGO Legislative / Regulatory Initiatives

A new media law draft proposed by Member of Parliament Ghassan Mkhayber in cooperation with the NGO Maharat Foundation was sent for parliamentary debate back in 2010. The law is still being discussed, especially among several local NGOs engaged in defending freedoms in Lebanon. Civil society has expressed a number of concerns about the new law, which would maintain articles that criminalize free speech and impose jail sentences:

  1. The draft law does not mention the reasons behind the new media law, nor does it account for the fact that there are already laws regulating this sector (the law of publications, penal code, law of radio & TV, judicial military law, and digital law).
  2. Article 7 states that social media platforms including blogs and applications are not to be considered tools of publication or broadcast if they do not post or publish in a regularly manner. This could spare these platforms from possible pursuit or prosecution according to the new media law and penal code.
  3. Article 49 keeps the door open to applying the penal code and other criminal laws to media outlets when these laws do not contradict and conflict with the new law. It also maintains article 209 of the penal code, which considers nearly all means of expression as a tool of publication and thus subject to prosecution.
  4. Article 16 imposes prior authorization from the National Communication Council.
  5. Article 54 penalizes the act of publishing or broadcasting any material to incite racial discrimination, hatred, or violence against persons on the basis of their sex, origin, color, orientation, ethnic, religious, or sexual affiliation. The penalty is 25 times the official minimum wage.
  6. Articles 56 – 59 criminalize defamation and contempt in a variety of contexts, and civil society believes these are pretexts and tools to silence journalists and oppress media outlets.

If you are aware of other pending legal or regulatory initiatives, write to ICNL at ngomonitor@icnl.org.

We are unaware of any other pending legislative/regulatory initiatives affecting NGOs. Please help keep us informed; if you are aware of pending legal or regulatory initiatives, write to ICNL at ngomonitor@icnl.org.

Organizational Forms

According to the 1909 Law on Associations, an association is a group composed of more than one individual that combines their knowledge and effort in a permanent fashion to achieve a goal which does not include the distribution of profit.

Public Benefit Status

Lebanese associations may obtain a public benefit designation only by an act of Parliament. Because there is no formal procedure, no associations have been awarded public benefit status in a number of years. Public benefit status allows associations to receive public funds, bid for government contracts, and receive limited tax benefits.

Barriers to Entry

According to Lebanon’s 1909 Law on Associations, formation of an association does not require prior approval from the government; rather, the Law requires that the government be notified when an association is formed (Article 2). The notification process entails submitting information including an association’s address, goal, two copies of the association’s bylaws, and the identification cards of its founders to the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (Article 6). Per a Ministerial circular issued in 2006, the Ministry is required to issue notification receipts within 30 days of receiving the notification; this receipt serves as proof of an association’s legality. In practice, however, the Ministry does not always abide by the 30-day requirement, and the notification receipt may be delayed by several months or more. The receipt is important for an NGO’s functioning, as it is required in order for an NGO to carry out a number of essential activities such as opening a bank account or accessing international funding. Accordingly, a delay in the issuing of the notification receipt has detrimental impact on an NGO’s operations.

Barriers to Operational Activity

“Secret” or undeclared associations are prohibited and subject to dissolution by government authorities, according to Article 6 of the Law on Associations. However, the Lebanese government has not attempted to dissolve any association on these grounds since at least 2006.

Barriers to Speech / Advocacy

The Law on Associations does not include explicit barriers to associations’ speech or advocacy activity. Associations are free to engage on issues of public policy concern. The government has, however, prosecuted association members and activists under provisions of the penal code and the Audio-Visual Media Law for statements that are critical of public officials or foreign heads of state.

Barriers to International Contact

There are no legal barriers to international contact or communication.

Barriers to Resources

There are no legal barriers to resources, whether from domestic or foreign sources.

Barriers to Assembly

Article 13 of Lebanon’s Constitution provides that “the freedom of assembly…shall be guaranteed within the limits established by law.” The primary law governing the right to assemble is the Ottoman-era Public Assemblies Law of 1911, which was amended in 1931 and again in 1932. Subsequent government directives, such as Ministry of Interior Decree 4082 of 2000, as well as the Lebanese Penal Code also contain provisions relevant to the conduct of public assemblies. In practice, assembly organizers must often obtain a pre-approved permit from the governor of the district where the assembly will take place, if it will obstruct public streets.

In practice, however, these provisions are rarely used, and the government generally allows peaceful assemblies to proceed with few legal restrictions. Police use force to disperse crowds in some circumstances, such as during widespread anti-government protests in Beirut in September and October 2015. When those protests turned violent, security officials used what some considered to be excessive force; several dozen of the thousands of protestors were detained and charged with assault and vandalism under the Penal Code.

Vague Provisions
Article 3 of the Public Assemblies Law provides that the government may prevent a public assembly that would disturb public security or public order or public morality, and would go against the regular and normal course of public interests. Such broad language, especially with regard to the “regular and normal course of public interests” gives the government substantial discretion to prevent assemblies. In recent years, the government has banned a number of assemblies on grounds that they posed a threat to or would otherwise disturb public security.

Advance Notification
The Public Assemblies Law does not require prior authorization before a public assembly may take place, and in fact explicitly provides in Article 1 that no permit is required. However, public assemblies are subject to a process of prior notification. Article 2 of the Law provides that assembly organizers must prepare a “statement paper” and submit it to the Ministry of Interior (if the assembly will be held in Beirut) or the local administrative authority (if to be held outside of Beirut). The statement paper must be submitted at least 48 hours before the date of the assembly, according to Article 4 of the Law. It must include, among other things, the exact time of the assembly, its location, intended purpose, and the names and signatures of at least two assembly participants who reside in the assembly area.

While the law in Lebanon does not specifically provide for spontaneous assemblies, in practice the government generally protects and facilitates such assemblies as long as they are peaceful and participants are unarmed.

Time, Place, Manner Restrictions
The Public Assemblies Law provides certain restrictions on the location and timing of public assemblies. Per the Law, assemblies may not be held in public roads intended for traffic or pedestrian crossing, or within three kilometers from the presidential palace or the parliament. Public assemblies in open spaces may only take place between sunrise and sunset. These broad, blanket constraints on the permissible place and time for assemblies unduly restrict individuals’ ability to peacefully assemble according to international standards.

Criminal Penalties
Under the Law on Public Assemblies, the organizers of an illegal assembly are subject to a prison sentence of between six months and three years, or a monetary fine, or both. In addition, Lebanon’s Penal Code criminalizes “riot demonstrations and assemblies,” which it defines as rallies or parades on a public road or venue, composed of 1) at least three persons, at least one of whom has a weapon and intent to commit a felony or misdemeanor; or 2) at least seven persons intending to demonstrate against a decision or action taken by a public authority; or 3) more than 20 persons suspected of disturbing the public peace. The Penal Code also criminalizes the act of inciting a riot assembly, with a potential penalty of between a month and a year’s imprisonment or monetary fine, or both.

UN Universal Periodic Review ReportsUniversal Periodic Review: Lebanon (November 2, 2015)
Reports of UN Special RapporteursLebanon
USIG (United States International Grantmaking) Country NotesNot available
U.S. State Department2016 Report on Human Rights Practices: Lebanon
Fragile States Index ReportsForeign Policy: Fragile States Index
IMF Country ReportsLebanon and the IMF
International Commission of JuristsNot available
International Center for Not-for-Profit Law Online LibraryLebanon

While we aim to maintain information that is as current as possible, we realize that situations can rapidly change.  If you are aware of any additional information or inaccuracies on this page, please keep us informed; write to ICNL at ngomonitor@icnl.org.

Cash-strapped Lebanon plans to charge for WhatsApp calls (October 2019)
Lebanon’s cabinet has agreed to impose a fee on calls over WhatsApp and other similar applications, as part of efforts to raise revenues in the country’s 2020 draft budget, a minister said on Thursday. Lebanon has low growth, crumbling infrastructure and one of the world’s highest debt burdens, and is facing strains in its financial system from a slowdown in capital inflows. The government has declared a state of “economic emergency” and promised steps to ward off a crisis.

Security Forces Use Excessive Force Against Protesters (October 2019)
Lebanon’s security forces used excessive and unnecessary force against protesters in downtown Beirut on October 18, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. The Internal Security Force’s riot police fired tear gas at thousands of largely peaceful protesters, including children, in downtown Beirut. The army cleared the areas, sometimes using excessive force, as riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at fleeing protesters. Videos show security forces apparently using excessive force against protesters. A local TV station showed footage that appeared to show a riot police officer violently kicking and beating a protester. In a video shared by a local journalist, a soldier appeared to repeatedly hit a fallen protester with a baton as another soldier seems to try to stop the journalist from filming. Images circulated on social media show individuals lined up face down on the streets after apparently being arrested by the security forces for participating in the protests. Human Rights Watch was not able to independently verify these images.

Lebanon Protests Unite Sects in Demanding New Government (October 2019)
Lebanon’s protests, the largest since its independence, have moved from fury over the economy and corruption to demands for a new political system. The two new protesters smiled for the camera on a rooftop over downtown Beirut, marking what felt like history with a selfie. The view was new to them: Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese of every sectarian affiliation danced and chanted in the street below, the little-seen Lebanese flag suddenly everywhere. “The politicians told us that we hate each other, but we don’t,” said Fatima Hammoud, 23. “I’m from a specific sect. My friend is from a specific sect. But we’re all here together for our futures and our children’s futures. We don’t want to live the way our parents lived.”

Lebanon is experiencing a social revolution (October 2019)
The protests may not lead to political change, but they have already transcended Lebanon’s traditional social divides. Since October 17, Lebanese citizens from all walks of life have been taking to the streets in unprecedented protests that transcend not only sectarian lines but also class and regional ones. What unites the protesters are demands for the Lebanese cabinet, which was formed in January of this year, to resign. For the past 10 months, it has failed to save Lebanon from a worsening financial crisis predominantly caused by government mismanagement and corruption that predated its formation.

‘Change the system’: Lebanese protesters tell the government (October 2019)
In downtown Beirut, thousands of Lebanese protesters gathered for the sixth day, despite sweeping economic reform measures announced by the prime minister a day earlier, calling for the government to resign. Chants of “Peacefully! Peacefully! This is a peaceful revolution!” reverberated Lebanese capital’s Riyad al-Solh square a day after Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced a package of reforms that included a 50-percent reduction in salary for politicians and the establishment of an anti-corruption panel. Protesters say they’d like to see power handed over to a transitional council made up of judges with no political affiliation until elections are held. Behind the square, which has been the centre of protests since Thursday, barbed wire blocked the path to the Grand Serail, the headquarters of the prime minister.

Lebanon Scraps WhatsApp Tax as Protests Rage (October 2019)
Protests raged for a second day in Lebanon despite the government backtracking on plans to tax WhatsApp calls. The government had announced a $0.20 (£0.16) daily charge on voice calls made through WhatsApp and other apps. But it scrapped the plans hours later amid clashes between security forces and protesters. Thousands have protested, calling on the government to step down over its handling of an economic crisis.

Byblos Festival Drops Mashrou’ Leila (July 2019)
After a campaign led by the Catholic (Maronite) Church and backed by politicians and religious groups, a planned concert by the band Mashrou’ Leila was cancelled under pretext that their songs are blasphemous and violate religious values. The concert was part of Byblos International Festival’s planned events for summer 2019. Festival officials indicated in a statement that the cancellation aimed to avoid “bloodshed”, following violent threats against the band and festival that were issued on social media.

Beirut Municipality Postpones Waste Incinerator Decision Amid Protest (June 2019)
Following numerous protests by environmental activists and civil society groups against the building of a waste incinerator to end an ongoing garbage crisis, the Beirut municipality postponed its decision regarding the incinerator’s construction.

Palestinian refugees protest Lebanese government crackdown on unlicensed workers (July 2019)
Hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon protested in the capital Beirut and around their refugee camps against the government’s crackdown on businesses hiring foreign workers without permits. Demonstrators on Tuesday also demanded the Lebanese ministry of labour overturn a rule that requires Palestinian workers to obtain a work permit in order to gain employment.

Anti-Cybercrime Bureau interrogates Bisri Dam activists (July 2019)
A number of activists critical of the controversial Bisri Dam project have been interrogated by the Internal Security Forces’ Anti-Cybercrime Bureau over comments on Facebook, in what they have described as the latest attempt to silence their opposition. These summons and interrogations were considered by many local NGOs involved in human rights as a violation of freedom of expression.

Security Forces Try to Close LGBT Conference (September 2018)
Lebanese General Security officers unlawfully attempted to shut down a conference on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people on September 29, 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch staff members were among the participants at NEDWA, a conference organized by the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFE), a group that works to advance LGBT and other human rights. General Security is an intelligence branch of Lebanese security forces and is the agency that oversees the entry and exit of foreigners into the country.

The Establishment of Lebanon’s Judges Club (April 2018)
After more than a decade of discussion, the Lebanese Judges Association or “Lebanon’s Judges Club” was established on April 30, 2018. The formation of the association, with its objective of fostering an independent, apolitical judiciary in Lebanon, was considered an achievement given initial obstacles it faced.

Lebanon’s civil society challenges traditional parties in upcoming vote (March 2018)
Rampant corruption, successive dysfunctional governments, poor economic conditions and rising unemployment, among other problems, constitute the backdrop against which Lebanon’s first general elections in nearly a decade are to take place. A new election law introduces aspects of proportional representation for the first time in Lebanon, offering an opportunity for breakthroughs in different constituencies by political alternatives to traditional parties. A new dynamic initiated by the law contributed to the rise of new political alliances by “civil society actors” to participate in the May 6 elections. “They (civil society groups) have a chance to breakthrough in all electoral constituencies, especially in the big ones like Beirut, Mount Lebanon and even the (Hezbollah-dominated) south and Baalbek-Hermel district,” said political analyst Amine Kammourieh.

Human Rights Watch: Lebanon – Time for Action on Rights Abuses (January 2017)
Lebanon’s human rights situation deteriorated in 2016 amid longstanding human rights concerns, a waste management crisis, refugee concerns, and attacks on freedom of expression and dissent, Human Rights Watch said. The government’s failure to provide basic services, including timely and sanitary garbage removal, led to protests, with some protesters prosecuted before military tribunals. Criminal defamation laws were used against others who spoke out against the government. Detainees are subjected to ill-treatment and torture. Nonetheless, the establishment of a new government is an opportunity to turn the situation around by passing urgently needed legislative and policy reforms.

Beirut protest turns violent, politicians postpone talks (April 2015)
Security forces used tear gas and water cannons against thousands of protestors in Beirut, leading to dozens of injured. Public discontent has erupted in recent months over government corruption and poor infrastructure, particularly in trash disposal.

March NGO hosts a conference on online freedom of expression in Lebanon (October 2015)
The conference included civil society representatives, lawyers, activists, as well as security officials. It addressed Lebanon’s laws concerning freedom of opinion and expression, and what participants described as an increasing crackdown on digital expression and activism in practice.

Beyond Reform and Development issues Civil Society Mapping Report (April 2015)
This study assesses the situation of the civil society sector in Lebanon, including its main areas of focus, sources of funding, challenges, and recommendations. This study comes under the framework of the Civil Society Facility – South program funded by the European Union, and was conducted in partnership with the EU and Trantsec.

Lebanese NGO awarded fifth place in Global Intercultural Innovation Award 2014 (October 2014)
Arcenciel, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Lebanon has been awarded fifth place among a competitive field of 11 finalists vying for the prestigious Intercultural Innovation Award (IIA) for 2014. The award was presented in Bali, Indonesia at a ceremony held on August 28th in conjunction with the 6th Global Forum amongst an audience that included heads of state, dignitaries and representatives of the 144 member countries comprising the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), as well as civil society groups and the media. Arcenciel was awarded for its novel Cirqu’enciel programme described as a “Circus School in the Service of Intercultural Dialogue”. The programme includes a circus training school that helps integrate Lebanon’s marginalized youth from differing cultural backgrounds to gain a foothold into society by encouraging them to train and perform in different circus acts.

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon protest against UNRWA (September 2013)
Palestinians in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon protested against the UN agency for Palestinian refugees two days in a row. Political factions, commitees and organizations in the camp are on an open strike against “oppressive” procedures implemented by UNRWA, local leaders said. Palestinians in the camp say UNRWA implemented a new policy on Sept. 1 which ended emergency healthcare for refugees, affecting people with chronic illnesses who will no longer be eligible for free treatment.

Major new institute on civil society and citizenship in Arab region to be established at American University of Beirut (November 2012)
The American University of Beirut (AUB) and the UK-based Asfari Foundation are creating a major new institute at AUB that will focus on civil society and citizenship in the Arab world. It will be the first of its kind in the region.

Civil society leaders call for dialogue (November 2012)
Prominent civil society leaders gathered to throw their support behind President Michel Suleiman’s call for National Dialogue and to call for the implementation of the Baabda Statement and Taif Accord. “Civil society stands behind the president in calling all parties to implement the Baabda Statement, issued during the Dialogue Session on June 11, 2012.” the group, Civil Society’s Dialogue Table, said in a statement at the Press Federation.

Employees at the Casino of Lebanon protest (November 2012)
Employees working in the Casino of Lebanon protest defending their right to receive long term contracts.

Security Forces harass protestors sexually (October 2012)
Security forces are performing sexual verbal and physical violence against protestors.

Students protest against increased tuition fees (October 2012)
Students of the Lebanese University protest against trebling the tuition fees and assure that they will not pay their fees if the raise remains effective.

Protestors are beaten and insulted (September 2012)
Few young people who gathered to demand the adoption of civil marriage were exposed to attacks by the police.

Workers on Strike (July 2012)
Day workers at EDL are protesting and are on hunger strike for the third day asking for their demands to be heard.

Public Sector Employees and Educational Bodies on Strike (July 2012)
Upon the invitation of the trade union coordinating body, public sector employees and educational bodies protest defending their rights.

Labor laws in Lebanon heat up on heels of ILO signing (July 2012)
Despite government ministers’ assertions that civil servants were wrong to engage in protests, the recent signing of the International Labor Organization convention by the labor minister guarantees the “Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize.” A source close to Labor Minister Salim Jreissati said that international conventions supersede local laws, and that the Cabinet had committed itself to the convention after the minister signed it. The source noted that local laws contradicting this convention should be amended.

NGO works to teach armed groups about humanitarian law (June 2012)
Although many armed groups are initially reluctant to work with Geneva Call, an independent organization dedicated to engaging non-state actors about international humanitarian law, the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon actually approached the NGO themselves. “They asked us to help in … disseminating among their cadres and among the security forces in the camp, humanitarian standards,” Armin Kohli, Geneva Calls’ program officer for the Middle East, told The Daily Star in an interview Monday.

Stopping the Strike of Workers (June 2012)
The head of the General Federation of Trade Unions warned the Lebanese government that inviting security forces to stop the strike of electricity workers is a violation of public freedoms.

NGOs call for approval of electoral law and reject postponing elections (May 2012)
A group of NGOs called on the government to approve a new electoral law before June and rejected attempts to postpone next year’s parliamentary elections. The Civil Campaign for Electoral Reforms, a group of about 40 domestic NGOs, held a news conference at the UNESCO Palace to review various proposals for a new election law, particularly a draft law based on a system of proportional representation and the right of Lebanese in the Diaspora to vote. The group said that “although the parliamentary polls are 13 months away, there is only one month left from the deadline set by the government to speed up measures to adopt an electoral law at least one year ahead of the election date in 2013” and that “postponement of the elections is unacceptable because it constituted a violation of the most basic principles of democracy which calls for a rotation of power.”

Teachers on Strike (April 2012)
The Association of Secondary School Teachers decided to strike and protest during April and May if their demands are not met.

Bakeries impose their conditions on the government (April 2012)
Bakeries stop their strike after being informed that their demands will be fulfilled as the government will pay 70 thousand LP for each ton of flour they use in the production of bread.

Restrictions on freedom of expression in the new Law on Information Technology (March 2012)
The new law places many restrictions which violate the right to freedom of expression. Social Media Exchange Organization actively encourages the public to form pressure against the new law.

The aforementioned information was collected by Beyond Reform & Development in Beirut, Lebanon.