COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION

OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION 

 

  REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9

 OF THE CONVENTION 

 

  Seventeenth periodic reports of States parties due in 2004

 Addendum

 Lebanon *

 

  

 

 

[20 January 2004] 

 

 

PART ONE: GENERAL REMARKS/INFORMATION

 

I.   Manner of incorporation of the Convention

into domestic law

  

1.   During the discussion, on 10 and 11 March 1998, of Lebanon’s periodic report dated 10 June 1997 (CERD/C/304/Add. 49, 30 March 1998), a number of requests were made for clarification of the manner of entry into force, in Lebanon, of treaties in general and of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in particular. A bilateral treaty becomes binding on Lebanon (on the basis of reciprocity) upon signature, in the case of an executive agreement, and upon the exchange of the instruments of ratification, in the case of a solemn treaty. A multilateral treaty becomes binding upon deposit of the instruments of ratification or accession. No further procedure is required for the incorporation of the treaty into domestic law. While Lebanese courts recognize the primacy of international law over domestic law, one must clearly distinguish between two different kinds of treaty provisions. Some provisions are by their very nature self-executing , in the sense that no legislative or regulatory instrument is needed to execute them; they can be applied immediately. In those cases, a Lebanese administrative court can, for example, if it is regularly seized of the matter, annul an administrative measure that contravenes a sufficiently specific provision of the Conven tion. Other provisions do, however, call for the taking of legislative or administrative measures, such as the adoption of new provisions in the Penal Code, the organization of an information campaign, the inclusion of certain subjects in educational curricula, etc.

2.   The new preamble added to the Lebanese Constitution on the occasion of the promulgation of the amendments of 21 September 1990 states that Lebanon is committed to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In strictly legal terms, that statement adds nothing to the commitments Lebanon has made, including its consent to be bound by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. However, it does articulate a renewed moral commitment to abide by the international norms that protect human rights.

 

II. COMPOSITION OF THE POPULATION

 

3.   The community system adopted in Lebanon was described in the above-mentioned periodic report (CERD/C/304/Add.49, 30 March 1998) and was taken up again in the report dated 18 January 2002 (CERD/C/383/Add.2, 18 November 2003).

 

4.   During the discussion of the report submitted in 1997, attention was drawn to the apparent contradiction in the report between, on the one hand, the assertion that Lebanon is a unitary State and, on the other, that it was formed when the various religious communities that make up the Lebanese people joined forces and that the country applies confessionalism in political life and as to personal status. To call Lebanon a unitary State is simply to say that it does not have a federal structure; indeed, Lebanon is not made up of cantons, provinces or federated states each with its own borders and constitution. From this point of view, Lebanon certainly is a unitary State, according to the definition accepted by the writers of constitutional law. The fact that political posts and senior administrative posts are distributed among the various communities according to their numbers in the country, or that different rules regulate personal status in the different communities, does not make it a federal State. As for parliamentary elections, while it is true that the 128 seats in the single

 

 

chamber are distributed among the different communities according to quotas specified by the Electoral Act, based on their respective numbers, it is equally important to recall, as mentioned in the report (para. 15), that in each electoral district voters of a given creed vote not only for the candidate(s) of their creed, but for an entire list of candidates of various creeds, according to the seats to be filled, the aim being to safeguard and strengthen national unity.

 

5.   The characteristics of the religious communities that make up the Lebanese people were also discussed during the consideration of the report. According to the Committee’s conclusions (CERD/C/304/Add.49, 30 March 1998, para. 12): “Whereas the State party recognizes Syrians, Greeks, Armenians, Copts, Kurds, Jews, etc. as ‘communities’ and ‘religions’, there is no rec 5.   The characteristics of the religious communities that make up the Lebanese people were also discussed during the consideration of the report. According to the Committee’s conclusions (CERD/C/304/Add.49, 30 March 1998, para. 12): “Whereas the State party recognizes Syrians, Greeks, Armenians, Copts, Kurds, Jews, etc. as ‘communities’ and ‘religions’, there is no recognition of the different ethnic origin of some of them, which might constitute grounds for different treatment of these communities, including, in some instances, racial discrimination.” This statement requires some clarification. Firstly, the fact that no mention is made of the ethnic origin of the communities is the very opposite of racial discrimination. Secondly, while it is true that some communities do have a distinct ethnic origin, that is not taken into consideration in the prevailing political and legislative system. For example, the Armenians can be divided into Catholic Armenians and Orthodox Armenians. The Syrians mentioned in the report, whether they be Catholic or Orthodox, are not Lebanese who were born in present-day Syria; they are the original inhabitants of the region and are Christians who retained their original liturgy instead of adopting the Byzantine liturgy. They are also referred to as (Catholic or Orthodox) Syriacs. The Greeks are not Lebanese from Greece, but Christians who adopted the Byzantine rite when the Byzantine Empire held sway over the region. They are also known as Melkites, from the word Melik, meaning king, because they were close to the centre of power (senior officials, etc.) and adopted its rite. Today, however, the word Melkites is reserved for Greek Catholics, who are also known as Uniates, because they are bound to the Roman Catholic Church; the others are Greek Orthodox. In the Arabic language, neither group is referred to as Greeks, but rather as Al-Rum, a term that refers to the Roman Empire, but in fact describes the Byzantines (the Eastern Roman Empire).

 

6.   Likewise, while it is true that the Alawites do have a specific ethnic identity, the religious difference between Sunnis and Twelver Shi’ites is too well-known to require explanation here. In any case, the fact that an individual in Lebanon can change his or her rite or religion proves that the communities are not ethnic groups.

 

7.   On the other hand, the Kurds, who are Sunnis, are an ethnic group. Once they have acquired Lebanese nationality, however, they do blend in with the Sunni community.

 

8.   The Lebanese Constitution does not enshrine any one religion as the religion of State. In Lebanon, confessionalism or the community system does not take the form of relations of dominance between a majority group and one or more minority or smaller groups or between new arrivals and indigenous populations or natives and migrant populations or between peoples of different colours, etc. In political terms, its purpose is to provide reassurance to all groups by ensuring that none of them is excluded from the country’s legislative and administrative life. With regard to personal status (marriage, filiation, etc.), it avoids having one group impose on another laws inspired by a religion to which that latter group does not belong (it being understood that there is one inheritance law for all non-Muslims and that the competence of the civil courts is recognized).

 

9.   With regard to the non-Lebanese population, Palestinian refugees are by far the largest and most stable group. There are estimated to be 400,000 of them and between 3.5 and 4 million Lebanese in Lebanon.

 

10.   Mention should also be made of the presence of a sizeable, but not permanent, population of foreign workers, consisting of Syrians, Egyptians, Sudanese and Indians who work in construction or in service stations, for example, and of Sri Lankan, Philippine and Ethiopian domestic employees.

 

11.   The table below is based on statistics supplied by Lebanon’s Directorate-General of General Security and shows the number of persons of each nationality who obtained a residence permit, as a labourer or domestic employee, between 12 February 2003 and 11 February 2004.

 

Nationality

Number

Nationality 

Number

Afghanistan

9

France

Algeria

20

Gabon

Angola

1

Gambia

36 

Australia

1

Germany

Bangladesh

6 828

Ghana

266 

Benin

340

Guinea

17 

Brazil

13

Haiti

Burkina Faso

188

India

6 235

Cameroon

91

Indonesia

212 

Canada

1

Iran

26 

Central African Republic

Iraq 

203

Chad

5

Japan

Chile

2

Jordan

148 

China

5

Kenya

12 

Colombia

29

Liberia

52 

Congo

31

Madagascar

224 

Congo (Democratic Republic)

48

Mali

36 

Côte d’Ivoire

181

Mauritania

5

Djibouti

1

Mauritius

75

Dominican Republic

2

Morocco

53

Ecuador

10

Mozambique

4

Egypt

13 161

Myanmar

1

Egyptian Palestinian

8

Namibia

1

Eritrea

611

Nepal

496

Ethiopia

21 491

Netherlands

1


Table ( continued)

Nationality

Number

Nationality

Number

Niger

3

Sweden

1

Nigeria

475

Syria

184

Pakistan

275

Tanzania

7

Palestinians from Syria

4

Thailand

25

Panama

1

Togo

254

Paraguay

2

Tunisia

21

Peru

1

Turkey

220

Philippines

14 518

Ukraine

1

Romania

4

Undetermined nationality

Senegal

464

United Kingdom 

2

Seychelles

15

Venezuela

Sierra Leone

67

Viet Nam

553 

Somalia

40

Yemen

South Africa

1

Zaire

18 

Sri Lanka

37 608

Zambia

1

Sudan

809

Total 

106 780

PART TWO

Article 2

12.   No constitutional amendments have been made since the last reports. The elimination of confessionalism announced in the Taif Agreement of 22 October 1989 and in the amendments to the Constitution promulgated on 21 September 1990 (paragraph (h) of the preamble and article 95) is expected to take some time and must be done with care, since what is at stake is civil peace in the country. Indeed, if the authors of the Taif Agreement and the constitutional amendments believed that civil peace would best be served by eliminating confessionalism, and if, today, it would seem, on the contrary, that it is by its preservation, at least on a temporary basis, that this peace will be safeguarded, then there can be no harm in waiting. This is why the national committee envisaged in article 95 of the Constitution has not been appointed.

13.   Likewise, no plans have been adopted for the introduction of civil marriage, even as an option.

14.   With regard to foreign labour, the Ministry of Labour has finalized a Bill for the establishment of a new labour code. Lebanon’s current Labour Code dates back to 1946 and a new code was needed to take account of the changes that have occurred since then and of all the international conventions by which Lebanon is now bound. The Bill provides that the categories of wage earners not covered by the text will be subject to special laws. Indeed, domestic employees, whether Lebanese or foreign, are not covered by the Labour Code, but merely the Code of Obligations and Contracts.

  

15.   In order to protect foreign employees, the Ministry of Labour signed order No. 5, dated 17 January 2003, concerning regulation of the work of agencies that recruit foreign domestic employees.

  

Under the terms of the order, in addition to the documents needed to bring such employees from abroad, agency owners must present a contract signed by the sponsor (the employer) that includes the following elements: the duration of the employment and the amount the employee will be paid, and undertakings by the sponsor to: ensure that the employees receive clothing, medical care, an acceptable space in which to sleep and rest; pay the employee a monthly salary at the end of each month; provide the employee, at his request, with the help he needs to remit his salary abroad; give him adequate rest breaks and refrain from ill-treating or beating him, under penalty of law (art. 15).

  

16.   The same ministerial order requires recruitment agencies to maintain lists of temporary contracts between sponsors (employers) and female employees who work in their homes in order to ensure that such employees perform effectively, are well-treated and enjoy all their rights. The agency is required to notify the Ministry of Labour of cases necessitating the filing of a complaint against the employee or the sponsor (art. 16).

  

17.   The Ministry of Labour has one week to decide upon the complaints submitted to it. The Ministry has invoked the same order to suspend the permits of a number of recruitment agencies found to have violated its terms, particularly with regard to ill-treatment of female employees and the bringing in of employees using fictitious sponsors (art. 14). A special office has been set up at the Ministry of Labour to receive and to deal with complaints in accordance with the laws in force and with the terms of employment contracts.

  

18.   The Ministry of Labour furthermore requires the employer to draw up a written employment contract with the foreign worker, which must be authenticated by a notary public. The foreign worker may ask for the contract to be translated into his or her language. The above-mentioned draft labour code drawn up by the Ministry fills a lacuna in the present Code with regard to the language of a contract. It stipulates that the foreign worker is only subject to the terms of an employment contract that is written in a language he or she understands.

  

19.   Foreign female domestic employees must be covered by an insurance policy that guarantees them hospital care, medical attention, compensation for any occupational accident they may have and repatriation of their remains in the event of death.

  

20.   The Lebanese authorities pursue, in accordance with agreements reached with organizations working to protect human rights, a strategy of protecting refugees and persons who have entered Lebanon illegally.

  

21.   In that regard, an arrangement was concluded on 9 September 2003 (see document attached) between the Regional Bureau, at Beirut, of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The text was designed to find temporary humanitarian solutions to the problems of persons who have entered or are living in Lebanon illegally and who apply to UNHCR for refugee status, pending their resettlement in a third State or repatriation to their country of origin, Lebanon not being a party to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951.

  

22.   In the same spirit, a cooperation agreement was signed, on 11 March 2002, between the Lebanese Government and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) on the humanitarian repatriation to their countries of origin of illegal immigrants.

  

23.   To date, no cooperation agreement has been concluded between Lebanon and the International Organization for Migration, although the Organization has received authorization to

  

open an office in Beirut. Moreover, during 2003, the Organization, in cooperation with the Directorate-General of General Security, financed the voluntary repatriation of Iraqis to their country (transport, food, medical care and personal expenses). Similar initiatives will be organized in the future (see document attached).

  

24.   Cooperation with the Migrants Centre of Caritas Internationalis (Caritas) Lebanon has taken the following forms:

 (a)   The distribution of aid in kind and in the form of medical care for persons being detained by the General Security Department, including verification of the detainees’ psychological state;

 (b)   The final touches are now being put to the “Maison de la Sûreté” project, which will be carried out jointly by the General Security Department, Caritas and the International Catholic Migration Commission. The building has already been leased pending the completion of the legal arrangements required for the project.

  

25.   In the framework of the regularization of the situation of persons who have broken the law on residence of aliens, the Directorate-General of General Security regularized the situation of Arab and foreign nationals by memorandum No. 24 dated 4 February 2002. According to the memorandum, persons who had entered Lebanon legally but had infringed the residence laws were allowed to regularize their situation by paying their tax arrears. A final two-month reprieve was given to the persons concerned in order to allow them to meet one of the conditions required for alien residence or to leave Lebanese territory. That deadline was extended to three months in a memorandum dated 2 April 2002.

  

26.   With regard to persons in possession of a valid passport or laissez-passer who have entered Lebanon illegally, they were permitted to pay a fine proportional to the number of years since the infraction, together with an entry tax; they were given one week to leave the country. Arab and foreign nationals who had been married to a Lebanese woman for more than one year were exempt from expulsion. Their situation was regularized and they were given three months to meet one of the conditions required for an annual residence permit. They had to pay a fine proportional to the number of years of illegal residence, in addition to the tax on their new residence.

  

27.   Those deadlines were extended until 30 June 2002 pursuant to a memorandum dated 29 May 2002. Anyone who applies for regularization is exempted from the condition of leaving the country and has three months to satisfy one of the conditions required for an annual residence permit.

  

28.   Persons who are entirely non-documented are instructed to apply to their country’s embassy or consular mission to obtain a passport or laissez-passer. If it is impossible to obtain a document, because there is no diplomatic or consular representation in Lebanon, the criminal Investigation Department will decide on the action to be taken.

Article 4

29.   It is worth recalling, as mentioned in Lebanon’s report dated 6 November 1997 which the Committee discussed (CERD/C/298/Add.2, paras. 33 and 34), that article 317 of the Lebanese Criminal Code punishes “any act, written word or statement whose object or effect is to excite religious or racial hatred or to promote dissension between the communities or different elements of the population” and that article 318 imposes penalties on “any person who belongs to an association founded for the purposes mentioned in the previous article” and provides that the association must be disbanded and its assets confiscated. The laws governing the print and broadcast media contain similar provisions. No supplementary legislation has since been adopted.

Article 5

30.   Any foreigner is entitled, on the same basis as Lebanese nationals, to have access to the Lebanese courts in order to bring a complaint before a criminal court or institute proceedings before a civil court, the Council of State (administrative court) or labour arbitration councils, etc. He or she is entitled to the same services as Lebanese citizens without any discrimination.

 

31.   By way of example, decree No. 3572 of 21 October 1980 provides as follows:

Article 3 : All actions brought before the Labour Arbitration Council shall be exempt from court fees and stamp duty, except for costs.

Article 4 : It is possible to bring an action or to appear before the Labour Arbitration Council without the assistance of a lawyer.”

 

32.   These provisions apply without discrimination to Lebanese citizens and to foreigners. The same holds true for all laws and regulations governing proceedings before different Lebanese courts.

 

33.   Lebanese law applies to foreign wage earners and their employers. Regardless of the work they do or their nationality, foreign workers in Lebanon are subject to the Labour Code and to the protection it affords, unless they are domestic employees, in which case, as indicated above, they, like Lebanese domestic employees, are subject to the Code of Obligations and Contracts. All forms of ill-treatment are punished under the Penal Code without distinction between Lebanese citizens and foreigners.

 

34.   Neither the Lebanese Labour Code nor employment laws and regulations, such as the laws establishing general wage increases or fixing the minimum wage, make any distinction between Lebanese citizens and foreigners.

 

35.   Foreign wage earners have the same rights as their Lebanese counterparts to daily and weekly rest breaks, annual paid leave, family leave and paid holidays. They work the same number of hours, as stipulated in article 31 of the Labour Code, i.e. 48 hours, and receive overtime pay for additional work.

 

36.   The same preventive and security measures and sick leave allowances apply to workers in all categories, regardless of their nationality. Women are entitled to seven weeks’ maternity leave, whatever their nationality.

 

37.   Special leave, such as leave when a male or female wage earner marries, is granted without regard for nationality, if it is provided for in the enterprise’s statutes as approved by the Ministry of Labour.

 

38.   Occupational accidents are covered in decree law No. 136 of 16 September 1987. However, article 10 of the decree law stipulates that:

  “The heirs of the foreign wage earner are not entitled to claim the compensation provided for in the present decree law if, at the time of the accident, they were living outside Lebanese territory. The provisions of this article shall not apply to foreign wage earners who are nationals of a State which accords, in this domain, the same rights to Lebanese as to its nationals.”

  

39.   The above-mentioned draft of the new labour code provides:

  “The heirs of a foreign wage earner are entitled to the compensation provided for in the present chapter, if the foreigner is a national of a State that has ratified International Labour Convention No. 19, concerning Equality of Treatment for National and Foreign Workers as regards Workmen’s Compensation for Accidents (1925).”

 

40.   Pending the amendment of the Labour Code, the Ministry of Labour adopted order No. 142/1 (Official Gazette No. 53, 20 November 2003), requiring all employers to conclude an insurance policy on behalf of all foreign wage earners, male or female, incorporating life insurance plus transport of remains to a value of US$ 7,500, a permanent disability allowance of a minimum of US$ 2,500, and hospitalization costs in the event of sickness or accident, of whatever nature or origin, in the amount of US$ 2,500 for each case, with a maximum of US$ 7,500.

 

41.   Concerning the termination indemnity for foreigners and other social security benefits, article 59 of the Labour Code provides that “Foreign wage earners shall, when dismissed, enjoy the same rights as Lebanese wage earners, provided there is reciprocity; they must obtain a work permit from the Ministry of the Economy (now the Ministry of Labour)”.

 

42.   States with which reciprocal arrangements have been made under bilateral agreements are the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Iraq, Morocco, Germany and Switzerland.

 

43.   Similarly, article 9, paragraph 4, of the Social Security Act provides that “Foreign wage earners working in the territory of Lebanon shall be subject to the provisions of this Act in respect of some or all social security benefits only if the State to which they belong grants Lebanese equal treatment with its nationals where social security is concerned”.

 

44.   However, the Labour Arbitration Councils have ruled that wage earners whose nationality is being reviewed or has not been determined shall receive the benefits offered by the National Social Security Fund, and that employers must block half of the contributions payable for Palestinian wage earners, to be held against the termination indemnity.

 

45.   The judicial authorities (the Public Prosecutor’s Office), the Ministry of Labour and the security services, notably the General Security Department, carry out an investigation whenever a foreign wage earner lodges a complaint of ill-treatment against his employer. Appropriate legal steps are taken if the complaint proves to be justified. These bodies may also receive complaints from embassies or consulates of the worker’s country.

 

46.   Where domestic employees are concerned, despite some reports of exploitation or ill-treatment, a succession of general investigations carried out by the Ministry of Labour and the consideration of individual complaints the Ministry has received show that the number of such cases is very small. Indeed, it has been noted that many domestic employees return to Lebanon for a second spell of employment.

 

47.47.   Under Lebanese law, a foreign employee’s passport may not be retained against his or her wishes. Generally speaking, the employer may need to have a foreign employee’s passport in order to carry out various formalities, involving work permits, registration of the labour contract with a notary, medical examinations or insurance. Similarly, the employee may freely entrust his or her passport to his or her employer for safe keeping. However, where an employer refuses to return a passport to an employee on request, the General Security Department will intervene. In fact, there have been cases in which Lebanese courts have declared the retention of a passport by an employer to be unlawful.

 

48.   Employers, who are aware of the religious needs of their domestic employees, allow them to visit their places of worship each week or on the occasion of religious festivals. Domestic employees spend their days off with their fellow-countrymen, and this offers them intimacy and social freedom which are non-existent in most of the countries in the region. Some employers allow their domestic employees to work for other persons during the day or to live elsewhere, giving the employee considerable independence. When domestic employees live away from their employer’s residence, this enables them to live in the neighbourhoods which are specific to them, to share their experiences, and to enjoy their own cuisine. In Lebanon there are restaurants which serve foreign wage earners their national dishes, and in the shops they can find their own food, as well as newspapers and magazines. There is even a special night club for Filipinos at Sinn el Fil, in Beirut’s inner suburbs, where karaoke evenings are organized. Singers of various nationalities and groups of performers are brought to play to the various ethnic groups.

 

49.   The social freedoms enjoyed by manual workers and domestic employees in Lebanon have led to a rise in marriages between them, and in procreation. The General Security Department has issued an internal memorandum under which three-year residence permits can be granted free of charge to certain foreign nationals, including the children of foreign parents who are working in Lebanon.

 

50.   No alien who has not breached the law governing entry and residence by foreigners in Lebanon can be deported without a decision from a competent authority, which is issued only in connection with an offence against public order or morals or questionable activities.

 

51.   As far as the right to work is concerned, foreigners in Lebanon are authorized to engage in various occupations, with the exception of work as State employees or in certain occupations which are reserved for Lebanese.

 

52.   The breakdown of work permits issued to foreigners by the Ministry of Labour in 2003 is shown in the table below.

 

Nationality

Number

Nationality

Number

Afghanistan

10 

Cambodia

1

African States

369

Cameroon

71

Albania

2

Canada

60

Algeria

20

Chad

4

Argentina

Chile

1

Armenia

3

China

41

Asian countries

553

Colombia

22

Australia

13 

Congo

66

Austria

3

Côte d’Ivoire

81

Bahrain

3

Countries of the Americas

3

Bangladesh

5 963

Croatia

2

Belgium

17

Cuba

2

Benin

121

Cyprus

4

Brazil

17

Czech Republic

1

Bulgaria

Denmark

5

Burkina Faso

57 

Dominican Republic

Table (continued) 

Nationality 

Number

Nationality 

Number

Ecuador

10

Pakistan

606 

Egypt

12 056

Palestine 

245

Eritrea

333

Philippines

12 844

Ethiopia

18 146

Poland

13

European States

28 

Qatar 

1

France

226

Republic of Korea 

6

Gambia

30

Romania

37 

Germany

59

Russia

12 

Ghana

214

Saudi Arabia

22 

Greece

11

Senegal

399 

Guinea

12

Seychelles

11 

Haiti

63

Sierra Leone

44 

Hungary

9

Singapore

India

5 621

Somalia

32 

Indonesia

60 

South Africa

7

Iraq

217

Spain

Ireland

10

Sri Lanka

32 772

Islamic Republic of Iran

64

Sudan

604

Italy

49

Sweden

Japan

4

Switzerland

16 

Jordan

202

Syrian Arab Republic

436

Kenya

11

Thailand

64 

Kuwait

5

Togo

245 

Liberia

45

Trinidad and Tobago 

2

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

14 

Tunisia 

25

Madagascar

119

Turkey

187 

Malaysia

5

Ukraine

Mali

28

United Arab Emirates

1

Malta

1

United Kingdom

118

Mauritania

1

United Republic of Tanzania

7

Mauritius

23

United States

159

Morocco

47

Venezuela

1

Mozambique

1

Viet Nam

164

Nepal

119

Yemen

9

Netherlands

10

Yugoslavia

8

New Zealand

7

Zaire

2

Nigeria

380

Zambia

1

Norway

4

Zimbabwe

1

  

53.   The total number of work permits issued to foreigners during 2003, by occupation, is shown in the table below.

Occupation

Number

Occupation 

Number

Accountant 

4

Journalist

45

Administrative

118 

Labourer

112

Adviser

45

Launderer

Agent

7

Mechanic

Artistic occupations

144 

Miscellaneous

5 300

Auditor

3

Musician

68 

Baker

319

Nurse

59 

Barmaid

28

Office worker

Blacksmith

Packer 

2

Carpenter

60 

Painter 

14

Cleaner

7 569

Pastry cook 

7

Company director

169 

Photographer

1

Construction

1 220

Physicist

1

Cook

267

Porter

931 

Coordinator

Primary teacher

36

Delegate

42

Printer

Director

302

Sales representative

41

Domestic employee

72 024

Service station attendant

194

Dress designer

11 

Shopkeeper

22

Electronics specialist

5

Specialist

28

Engineer

2

Sportsman or woman 

17

Expert

291

Tanner

59 

Farm worker

4 430

Teacher

317

Fisherman

Technician

57

Furniture maker

Tiler 

124

Glazier

3

Trainer

27 

Handicrafts

Translator

17

Instructor

15 

Warehouseman

7

Ironworking

23 

Weaver 

9

Jockey

7

Welder

 

 

 

Total

94 647

54.   Travel documents for Palestinians are issued by the General Security Department, for several journeys and several years. Consequently, the persons concerned are free to come and go within Lebanon, to leave the country and to return to it. In the case of those who entered Lebanon clandestinely, some of whom may be in Lebanese prisons, the delay is due to the fact that the embassies concerned do not respond appropriately and speedily to the requests made by the General Security Department by supplying the necessary documents, but may take several months to do so.

55.   Concerning the right to work, Palestinians in practice engage in all occupations. Palestinians can obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Labour at a discount of 25 per cent on the fee normally payable by foreigners, even though article 1 of decree No. 17561 of 18 September 1946, on organization of work by foreigners, sets out the principle of reciprocity, and article 8 provides that priority in the exercise of the right to work should be given to Lebanese. For humanitarian reasons, the Lebanese authorities do not prosecute Palestinians who work without a work permit.

  

56.   Concerning the reservation of certain occupations and jobs for Lebanese, article 9 of the above-mentioned decree stipulates that the Minister of Labour must, in December of each year, identify the operations and occupations which the Ministry deems it necessary to reserve for Lebanese. A number of orders, including order No. 621/1 of 15 December 1995, stipulate that this rule may be waived in the case of foreigners who:

 

  • Have been living in Lebanon since birth; 
  • Are of Lebanese origin or were born to a Lebanese mother; 
  • Have been married to a Lebanese woman for over a year. 

57.   There are legal obstacles to the acquisition of real estate by foreigners in Lebanon. First of all, the law which authorizes foreigners to acquire real estate, within very specific limits as to the area authorized per person and per district, applies on condition of reciprocity, which Palestinians cannot offer. In addition, since it was amended on 21 September 1991 (paragraph (i) of the preamble), the Constitution prohibits Palestinians from settling in Lebanon. This measure is based on United Nations General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, which acknowledges the right of Palestinians to return to Palestine.

 

Article 6

58.   No new developments to add to previous reports.

Article 7

59.   The problem of racial discrimination and the need to combat it have occupied an important place in the plans, programmes, research and projects of the Educational Research and Development Centre, and especially in:

1.   The educational recovery plan drawn up in 1994.
2.   The new structure of general education adopted in 1995.
3.   The new curricula adopted in 1997.
4.   The specifications for the national textbook drawn up by the Educational Research and Development Centre.
5.   Other projects in the field of education.

 

60.   The educational recovery plan was adopted on 8 May 1994. Chapter 1, paragraph C states that Lebanon is an ideal homeland for cultural interaction and openness in contrast to regimes and doctrines based on racial discrimination and fanaticism.

 

61.   This assertion was repeated and reaffirmed among the general objectives of the new structure of pre-university education adopted in 1995.

 

62.   Similarly, the concept of combating discrimination, and especially racial discrimination, is widely reflected in the various subjects taught. The new curricula and their objectives, as adopted in decree No. 10227/97, contain the following provisions:

 

The general objectives of the curricula (general principles): in intellectual and human terms: the same assertion as above.

 

The objectives of the kindergarten cycle: among these objectives (paragraph (h)): to encourage the child to communicate with others.

 

The objectives of primary education: among these objectives (paragraph (h)): to lead the child to adopt positive attitudes towards others, whether individuals, groups or peoples.

At the secondary level: respect for others and the strengthening of harmonious relations within society.

 

Civic education: its general objectives: paragraph 9: to strengthen pupils’ awareness of their humanity and their kinship with their peers, regardless of differences in sex, colour, religion, language, culture, etc.

 

The specific objectives of civic education:

Primary level: paragraph 3: to develop the concept of recognition of the existence of others.

Fourth year of primary education: solidarity and cooperation among peoples.

Middle level and secondary level: paragraph 3: non-discrimination among human beings.

First year of the secondary cycle: protection of human rights at the international and regional levels.

 

63.   Concerning the national textbook, the Educational Research and Development Centre has prepared a table in Arabic showing the frequency of references to the United Nations and its values in the various manuals. It shows that references to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for example, appear 112 times in basic education, and 93 times in secondary education, that the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is mentioned 10 times in basic education and 16 times in secondary education, and that the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is mentioned 7 and 6 times respectively.

 

64.   The other educational projects include:

The peace education project; 
The human rights education project;
The conflict resolution education project.

Annexes

  • Memorandum of understanding between the Directorate General of the General Security and the Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees concerning the processing of cases of asylum-seekers applying for refugee status with UNHCR office.
  • Draft cooperation agreement between the Government of the Republic of Lebanon and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development.

– – – – –