COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES
PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. At its 1258th and 1259th meetings, held on 10 and 11 March 1998, the
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination considered the sixth,
seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth periodic
reports of Lebanon (CERD/C/298/Add.2) and adopted, at its 1271st meeting,
held on 19 March 1998, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes
the submission by Lebanon of its report after a very long period during
which the dialogue between the Committee and the State party had been
disrupted. The Committee commends the quality and openness of the report
which follows the consolidated guidelines. It also appreciates the additional
information provided orally by the delegation of Lebanon.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention
3. The Committee notes the
severe difficulties facing Lebanon as a result of almost 20 years of
war and foreign intervention which have resulted in widespread destruction.
The Committee also takes note of the difficulties caused by the fact
that Lebanon has hosted a great number of refugees for several decades.
C. Positive aspects
4. The Committee welcomes
the resumption of the dialogue with the State party after 17 years during
which Lebanon had to go through the trauma of a civil war, two military
invasions and subsequent occupation of part of its territory in the
5. The Committee welcomes
the fact that, Lebanon has regained peace and stability which generate
a more favourable environment for the promotion and protection of human
rights, including those enshrined in the International Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
6. The constitutional amendments
of 21 September 1990, including the new article 95 relating to the elimination
of political confessionalism, are welcomed.
7. The recent establishment
within the Chamber of Deputies of the Commission du réglement interne
et des droits de l'homme (Commission on Human Rights) is a welcome initiative.
8. It is also to be welcomed
that treaties ratified or acceded to by Lebanon, particularly the Convention,
become part of internal law upon the exchange or deposit of the instruments
of ratification or accession.
D. Principal subjects of concern
9. Concern is expressed
at the insufficiency of the legal definition of ethnic groups and the
protection given to them in domestic law.
10. Though political and
legal efforts have been undertaken since the restoration of peace in
Lebanon, concern is expressed regarding the existing resistance to the
progressive elimination of the political system of confessionalism which
may impair the State party's implementation of certain provisions of
11. Concern is expressed
in relation to the full implementation of article 2, paragraph 1, of
the Convention, especially with regard to the insufficiency of measures
and policies, such as the major information campaign, adopted by the
State party to prevent and combat all forms of racial discrimination.
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.
13. All the provisions of
article 4 of the Convention are not fully reflected in domestic law
and policies, in particular with regard to the obligation of the State
party to adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate
all incitement to or acts of racial discrimination.
14. Concern is expressed
with regard to enjoyment by everyone of the right to equality before
the law (art. 5), especially for ethnic groups, refugees, displaced
persons and foreign workers. In this regard, concern is also expressed
that religious courts may pass judgements on some family issues which
may be construed as discriminating against members of ethnic groups,
including refugees and foreign workers.
15. In relation to article
5 (e) (i) of the Convention, the situation of migrant workers is of
concern, especially in relation to access to work and equitable conditions
of employment. In this regard, reports of confiscations of passports
of foreign workers by their Lebanese employees are a matter which should
be looked into by the responsible authorities of the State party.
16. There is no specific
information relating to article 6, and particularly with regard to cases
before Lebanese courts, where litigants may have invoked the provisions
of the Convention.
17. Although recognizing
the validity of the arguments advanced by the State party, the Committee
nevertheless notes that there are insufficient measures and programmes
in the fields of teaching, education, culture and information with the
view to combating prejudices which lead to racial discrimination and
to promoting understanding and friendship.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
18. The Committee recommends
that the State party ensure that the rights of ethnic groups fully comply
with the requirements of article 1 of the Convention.
19. The Committee recommends
that the State party include information on the demographic composition
of the Lebanese population in its next periodic report.
20. In the spirit of the
Taif Agreement (1989) and the constitutional amendments of 21 September
1990, the Committee supports efforts in the State party aimed at the
gradual elimination of the system of political confessionalism, taking
into account public views and feelings.
21. In light of article
2 of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State party take
all appropriate measures, such as major information campaigns, with
a view to preventing and combating all forms of racial discrimination.
22. The Committee recommends
that the State party fully reflect the provisions of article 4 in its
23. The Committee recommends
that the State party take all appropriate measures to fully ensure that
all persons, including members belonging to ethnic groups, refugees
and foreign workers, be given equal treatment before the law. It also
recommends that the State party ensure that all legal provisions dealing
with family-related issues relating to members of ethnic groups and
foreigners, are fully consistent with the provisions of the Convention.
24. The Committee recommends
that the State party take all appropriate measures, including those
of a legal nature, to fully guarantee access to work and equitable conditions
of employment to all foreign workers, including Palestinians. The practice
of some Lebanese employers of withholding passports of foreign workers
should be prohibited.
25. In light of article
7 of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State party allocate
appropriate resources in the fields of teaching, education, culture
and information with a view to combating all forms of racial discrimination
and to promoting understanding, tolerance and friendship.
26. The Committee suggests
that widespread publicity be given to the Convention, the periodic reports
submitted by the State party and the concluding observations of the
27. The Committee notes
that the State party has not made the declaration provided for in article
14 of the Convention, and some of its members request that the possibility
of making such declaration be considered.
28. The Committee recommends
that the State party ratify the amendments to article 8, paragraph 6,
of the Convention adopted at the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties.
29. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next periodic report, due on 12 December 1998,
be a comprehensive one and that it provide replies to the questions
raised during the consideration of the report.