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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April 1, 2014

Naharnet - Parliament Debates Controversial Draft-Laws amid Protests, April 1, 2014

Lawmakers debated on Tuesday several controversial issues, including a draft-law on Electricite du Liban's contract workers, who staged a protest in downtown Beirut to press for their demands as more sit-ins were expected against other items on the legislature's agenda.

Around 600 workers marched from the EDL headquarters in Mar Mikhael to the central Beirut district seeking to reach the closest area to the parliament building that lies in Nejmeh Square.

The head of the EDL committee of contract workers insisted that protesters would reach the square.

“Our protest will only be held near the parliament,” he told MTV.

The demonstrators pushed through the barricade and dozens of policemen in full riot gear blocking their way towards Nejmeh Square. But they stopped when a committee of contract workers headed to parliament to hold meetings with MPs over the controversial draft-law, which is the first item on the agenda of the three-day parliamentary session.

MP Ibrahim Kanaan told LBCI after the meeting that several lawmakers, including himself, heard the demands and concerns of the protesters. But he didn't confirm whether parliament would introduce amendments to the draft-law, which if passed, it would make around 1,800 of them full-timers.

The workers are insisting that the exams they need to take to become employees be carried out by EDL and supervised by the Civil Service Council. They are also demanding compensation, an item missing from the draft-law.

On Monday, the workers blocked the highway near EDL's headquarters and several streets across Lebanon to press for their demands.

Speaker Nabih Berri said the workers' demands were righteous but stressed at the start of the parliamentary session that “the speakership does not approve to legislate under threat.”

Another controversial draft-law on the 70-item agenda is the protection of women against domestic violence.

The joint parliamentary committees, which include representatives from different blocs, have approved the draft-law.

MP Robert Ghanem told Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) that MPs would adopt it on Tuesday to appease fears that parliament would send the draft-law back to the committees for amendments.

KAFA, a non-governmental organization that supports non-discrimination, gender equality, and women's rights within the Lebanese society, is also planning a protest in downtown Beirut to press MPs to adopt the draft-law.

Several Lebanese women have been killed in recent domestic violence cases which have led to a large-scale condemnation on social media.

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