The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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February 22, 2008

Naharnet - CLDH Press Conference on Enforced Disappearance - February 22, 2008

Rights Group Seeks International Probe into Civil War Missing

A Lebanese rights group called for an international investigation into the fate of thousands of people who disappeared during the 1975-1990 civil war, saying the government has failed to tackle the issue.
"Seventeen years after the end of the conflict and after Syrian troops and the Israeli army have left Lebanon, no serious investigation aimed at shedding light on the fate of thousands of missing persons has been conducted," said a report by the Lebanese Center for Human Rights.

The organization said it is demanding "the creation of an international investigative commission in order to determine the fates of the missing as well as the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission".

More than 150,000 people were killed during the 15-year war and according to official estimates from 1992, 17,000 people disappeared at the hands of Lebanese militias or the Syrian and Israeli armies during the conflict.

The rights group said it believed that figure was an over-estimate, although it said it believed hundreds of Lebanese were still detained "in secret or in inhumane conditions in Syrian prisons".

Its report comes amid high tension in Lebanon, which is grappling with its worst political crisis since the end of the civil war, raising fears of renewed sectarian strife.

"The Lebanese government is still not ready, technically or politically, to address this issue which implicates many people in power today," LCHR Secretary General Wadih al-Asmar told AFP.

The report also said that "to this day, no real investigation has been conducted to determine the locations of mass graves, the number of which remains unknown."

For three years now, relatives of the missing have staged a daily protest outside U.N. headquarters in Beirut.

LCHR said that while it supports the creation of a tribunal to try those behind the 2005 assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri, "all the victims, no matter who they are, have a right to truth and justice."

"Do we have to accept that only the political leaders have the right to truth and justice, while the ordinary citizen must be deprived of their fundamental rights for more than 30 years?" it said.(AFP)

Beirut, Updated 22 Feb 08, 09:02

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