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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October 15, 2014

The Daily Star - Lebanon receives 130M euros from EU for justice and security, October 15, 2014

Elise Knutsen

The European Union has allocated more than 130 million euros ($164.8 million) to Lebanon in a new Memorandum of Understanding signed Tuesday by Economy Minister Alain Hakim and the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule. The new funds will be used between 2014 and 2016 on a variety of sectors, with emphasis on justice and security reform, social cohesion projects and the promotion of sustainable management of natural resources.

“This is one more demonstration of the European Union’s deep engagement with Lebanon at this critical juncture. Indeed, the EU is well aware that Lebanon is facing extraordinary security, political, humanitarian, social and economic challenges,” Fule expressed in a press brief released after the Memorandum of Understanding was inked.

Anelina Eichhorst, the European Union’s ambassador to Lebanon, said that bolstering Lebanon’s judiciary system would be an important priority in the coming years.

“There have been many requests from both the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice to both work together, particularly on the condition of the prisons and on the conditions of the courts themselves,” Eichhorst told The Daily Star.

While improving capacity building in the courts is an important measure, Eichhorst said that in the next few years European Union funding will go toward improving conditions in prisons.

Lebanon’s jails, in particular the notorious Roumieh prison complex, have drawn increased scrutiny in recent years after jihadist groups were found to be operating and possibly recruiting new members inside. Overcrowded and understaffed, there is growing fear that the country’s prisons are becoming hubs of radicalization rather than rehabilitation.

“We’ll focus on the prisons most,” she added. “Not just the idea of, you know, we need more prisons ... but having a human rights approach to the whole question of justice and dealing with criminality and dealing with terrorism,” she said.

Enhancing social cohesion and supporting Lebanon’s most vulnerable populations, regardless of their nationalities, is also high on the list of the European Union’s priorities.

Fule visited a community center in Burj Hammoud which offers nonformal education to both Lebanese and Syrian students. “There should not be any discrimination just because of the location where the children are coming from,” he said at the center.

Fule said he was concerned about the abuse of Syrian refugees recently reported by UNHCR and Human Rights Watch. “Each report of course about some misconduct, misbehavior even in the most difficult circumstances like we face here must be addressed,” he told The Daily Star.

While welcoming the announced 130 million-euro support, Prime Minister Tammam Salam called on the EU to boost its structural development programs in Lebanon and to acknowledge the “dangerous threats facing Lebanon and their potential socio-economic consequences.”

He also called on foreign governments to accept a greater number of Syrians seeking asylum as Lebanon is unable to support the 1.2 million refugees officially residing within its borders. “We call for decisions to share Lebanon’s refugee burden, by launching a project that moves big numbers of them to other countries,” Salam said.

Source & Link: The Daily Star

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