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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December 23, 2009

Daily Star - Campaign fights poor prison health care provisions - December 23,2009

BEIRUT: A prison health reform program run throughout the country over the last three years has reviewed its efforts throughout 2009 and listed further improvements for the penal system. Hotel Dieu de France Hospital held a news conference on Tuesday to discuss the results of the 2009 campaign for medical examinations inside Lebanese prisons organized as part of the Operation Septieme Jour (O7) project, launched by Universite Saint-Joseph (USJ) in 2006.
Interior Minister Ziyad Baroud was present at the gathering and had himself launched a prison reform campaign earlier this year to fight corruption inside the facilities, provide humanitarian aid to the inmates and guarantee them their rights.
The USJ medical campaign joined the minister’s efforts and aimed at providing female and juvenile prisoners with basic medical care.
It promoted prevention of several diseases and diagnosed illnesses that affect women and children. The project worked in penitentiaries in several Lebanese regions including Tripoli, Zahle, Baabda, Beirut, Roumieh and Fanar. It provided medical examinations for common gynecological diseases as well as psychological care, pediatric care, dermatological care, ophthalmological care and blood work.
Some 309 women aged between 14 and 61 benefited from the offered medical services, 94 percent of whom had never been examined for cervical cancer and have never had a mammogram. The campaign also provided examinations for 155 children.
The campaign offered medication to 29 women; gave prescription glasses to three children; provided the Tripoli prison with ovens, tables and chairs; and provided the Zahle prison with blankets.
The project found that medical care services inside Lebanese prisons varied from one prison to the next. Constant medical care was absent from all jails and medical equipment was often unusable.
“The prisons are fulfilling their role as a place for punishment but not as a place for rehabilitation,” said a statement issued by the project. It added that juvenile prisoners were being included in a program designed for adults.
Hotel Dieu de France also suggested a series of measures to improve the situation, such as holding medical registers for every prisoner, providing first aid equipment in each prison, and providing an internal nursing center to avoid transferring inmates to hospitals in case of a medical emergency.
USJ and O7 will continue their medical campaign in Lebanese prisons with the help of Hotel Dieu de France. The French Embassy and will visit more prisons in coming months.
“We did not cause this situation but we are held responsible if we do not work to solve it,” the groups said.
The statement stressed the importance of caring for children and prisoners because it helped to shape Lebanon’s future. It added that volunteer work was essential for helping poor communities and that it formed part of civic education.
The O7 project was launched by USJ following the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon, which left many people homeless and in need. The university’s administration decided to organize a series of projects and campaigns to aid poverty stricken populations, especially those affected by the war. O7 depends on voluntary work, mainly from USJ students, and aims at promoting development in Lebanon and encouraging people to be active in their society.

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