Lebanon: Implementing the Optional Protocol
Lebanese stakeholders have taken a further step towards the implementation of the OPCAT, which was ratified by Lebanon on 22 December 2008. On May 14 2009, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Middle East (OHCHR-ME) organized a seminar in Beirut entitled 'Adoption of National Prevention Mechanism' under the auspices of the Lebanese Minister of Justice H.E Mr. Ibrahim Najjar.
The APT was present, together with participants from the Ministry of Justice, Interior and Defense and other non-governmental organizations.
Options and proposed recommendations for the establishment of a national prevention mechanism were discussed. Lebanon has to establish its NPM within one year from the date of ratification. Two options are currently being considered. The first is to create a 'Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Detainees and Persons Deprived of their Liberty' with the aim of improving the treatment of these groups, strengthening their protection against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, preventing such practices, as well as improving the conditions of detention in all places of detention. The current draft proposal foresees a committee of five independent members from different professional backgrounds. The second proposal is to create a National Human Rights Institution with a broad human rights mandate, including explicitly the mandate of the National Preventive Mechanism.
The participants recommended to the Minister of Justice to establish a technical follow-up committee to analyze the remaining questions concerning the two options and to subsequently finalize the legal basis for the mechanism.
Michel Mousa, Head of the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights, Fateh Azzam, Regional Representative of OHCHR, and Mr. Omar Natour, Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice.