The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the Middle East and North Africa (OHCHR-MENA) held today a panel discussion on the implementation of Lebanon’s Law No. 105 for the Missing and Forcibly Disappeared.
In May 2018, the United Nations Human Rights Committee recommended in its Concluding Observations that Lebanon “clarifies the fate of disappeared persons and whereabouts and ensure that the victims and their relatives are informed of the progress and results of the investigation”. In November 2018, the Lebanese Parliament ratified Law No 105 for the Missing and Forcibly Disappeared establishing a “National Commission for the Missing and Forcibly Disappeared in Lebanon”. In this regard, the panel outlined steps leading to the functioning of the National Commission in order to encourage Lebanon to streamline the process.
Parliamentarians and representatives of non-governmental organizations, United Nations experts, academics and family representatives of the missing and forcibly disappeared persons participated in the discussion to examine the provisions of the Law in line with international norms on enforced disappearance as well as advocating its full implementation.
Member of Parliament Michel Moussa noted that no one should suffer from enforced disappearance, and no one should remain in secret detention: “The law has been approved at this particular stage is a result of long work by the committee of the families of the missing persons and the objectivity with which they have dealt with the file. Add to this, the consensus by the entire political bloc in the Parliament on the necessity to close this file in a serious manner”.
Roueida El Hage, UN Regional Human Rights Representative for the MENA region stated that “Law No. 105 stipulated the establishment of the National Commission for Missing and
Enforced Disappearance, which is today’s subject to examine. Today we are looking forward to discuss how this commitment can be achieved. This topic is worth reviewing wisely and in a comparative way to explore and determine best practices and experiences”.
“It’s time to shed light on disappearances in Lebanon. I hope the new Law will be implemented to guarantee the families’ rights to truth, justice and reparations,” declared Houriya Es-Slami, member of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID).
Wadad Halani, Founder of the Committee of the Families of the Kidnapped and Disappeared in Lebanon, said: “We remain restless until the National Commission is established pursuant to Law 105/2018 revealing the fate of our beloved ones, whether alive or dead”.
Mr. Ghassan Moukhayber, Former Member of Parliament elaborated on the terms of references of the national commission on the missing and enforced disappearances that are related to identifying the fate of the missing persons and not their access or their families’ access to criminal justice. He added that the national commission is also responsible to ensure security and safety of witnesses and confidentiality of the information provided.
Mr. Christophe Martin, Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Beirut declared: “Three elements are key to clarify the fate of the missing persons: political will, resources and constant dialogue with the families of the missing persons”.