Human Rights Council
54th regular session of the Human Rights Council
Item 3: General debate on promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development – General Debate
CAP Liberté de Conscience
We are deeply concerned about cases of violations of freedom of expression and the misuse of military justice to repress activists and “political dissidents” in Lebanon.
Amendments to the Criminal Code allow the Permanent Military Court to hear civil cases related to national security, with far fewer protections for the defendants.
We would like to draw the Council’s attention to the case of Omar Harfouch, a Lebanese activist who fights corruption and advocates for institutional reform, women’s rights, and environmental issues.
He denounced problems of corruption in Lebanon at the European Parliament in March 2023, and was accused of having contacts with “Jews,” “Zionists,” and “pro-Israelis” during a conference on terrorism abroad, who are considered “enemies of the state” under Lebanon’s 1955 boycott law.
He learned of an arrest warrant issued by the prime minister with unclear charges ranging from three years of hard labor to the death penalty if convicted of treason. Being considered a “traitor” puts him at risk from extremist groups such as Hezbollah, and if arrested, he could face torture, which remains widespread in Lebanon despite legal protections.
We urge Lebanon to uphold its commitments to the international treaties it has ratified, namely ICCPR, CERD and CAT, not only in Harfouch’s case, but for all Lebanese.
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