Why did the Lebanese come to Mexico
Lebanon Country Information Sheets
|Publisher||Switzerland: State Secretariat for Migration (SEM)|
|Publication Date||July 1, 1997|
|Cite as||Switzerland: State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), Lebanon Country Information Sheets, 1 July 1997, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/466fe83c2.html [accessed 23 May 2021]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
1.1. State nameAl-Djumhurija al-Lubnanija = Lebanese Republic
1.2. State symbol and national coat of armsThe state emblem consists of three horizontal stripes: two red stripes frame one white stripe. The white stripe is twice as high as each of the two red stripes. In the center of the white stripe there is a green cedar tree. Red and white are the colors of Lebanon's two traditional political parties, the Kaîsi and the Yemeni. The cedar unites the two groups. Every year on November 21, a national holiday takes place in honor of the national coat of arms.
1.3. Form of governmentThe Lebanese form of government is determined by the constitution of May 23, 1926 with revisions of 1927, 1929, 1943, 1990 and 1995 as well as by the unwritten national pact of 1943. The form of government is a parliamentary democratic republic with a multi-party system. After 15 years of civil war (1975-1990), during which the government's political institutions gave way to a militia dictatorship, Lebanon has been - since the application of the Taef Conventions of October 22, 1989, also known as the "document of national reconciliation" and the one with them Associated Revisions (1990) - Again on the Way to a Parliamentary Democracy. Since September 21, 1990 the country has been in the era of the Second Republic. (important: end of section and do not delete this text!)
2. Social and culture
2.1. populationAccording to the "Survey of the basic statistical data on the inhabitants and the dwellings in Lebanon", which was carried out by the Ministry of Social Affairs in 1996, the Lebanese resident population consisted of 3.1 million inhabitants and an area of 10,452 km². There are also around 11 million Lebanese living abroad, mainly in America (U.S.A., Brazil, Argentina), West Africa and Australia. The age pyramid of the Lebanese population is as follows: 29.2% of the Lebanese are less than 15 years old, 63.8% are between the ages of 15 and 64 and 6.9% are older than 65 years. According to estimates, between 78 and 87% of the population lives in the cities or their agglomerations, especially in the capital Beirut (1.5 million), Tripoli (500,000), Zahleh (200,000), Sidon (Saïda) (100 '000), Baalbek (18,000) and Sur (Tire) (15,000). In contrast to other countries in the Middle East, the Lebanese population is characterized by the fact that it is made up of members of the most diverse ethnic groups and religions. Traditionally, the population is divided into 17 large religious communities (see Chapter 2.3.), But it also consists of the following ethnic groups: Lebanese (82.6%), Palestinians (9.6%), Armenians (4.9%) , Syrians, Egyptians, Kurds, Europeans and others (2.9%) (1983 estimate). In addition, there were around 1.1 million foreigners living on Lebanese soil in 1994, 92% of whom were Arab citizens; of these, in turn, 87.5% (890,000) were Syrian citizens. Incidentally, according to the available sources, Lebanon has between 350,000 and 600,000 Palestinians, of whom 349,773 are officially registered as refugees (August 1996). Almost 55% of them live in one of the government's 12 refugee camps near Beirut (Mar Elias, Burj el-Barajneh, Bbayeh, Shatila), Tripoli (Nahr el-Bared, Beddawi), Sidon (Saïda) (Aïn el -Helweh, Mieh Mieh), from Sur (Tire) (El-Buss, Rashidieh, Borj el-Shemali) and from Baalbek (Wavell). In addition to these government camps, there are the suburbs and the areas in which the Palestinians - often illegally, by the way - have set up after they fled the combat zones. They seize abandoned buildings in Beirut or Sidon (Saïda), form slums (Beirut: Raouché, Mazraa, Hamra, Borj Abou Haïdar, sports district), spontaneously set up small camps (Wali al-Zineh in Iqlim al-Kharoub) or new settlements (Bekaa: Saadnayel, Talabaya, Bar Elias). Sometimes they set up themselves in the entrances to the existing camps, as in Sikkeh near Aïn el-Helweh or on the edge of the coastal strip between Sidon (Saïda) and Beirut (on the beaches of Saint-Michel and Saint-Simon near Khaldé). After the Palestinians were beneficiaries of the Cairo agreements that were favorable to them until 1991, the majority of them have since then had refugee status, with which numerous civil and socio-economic restrictions are associated. According to the report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (1996), there are others still alive Refugee groups in Lebanon, especially Iraqis (1,165), Afghans (550) and Sudanese (202). In June 1994 the Lebanese authorities granted approximately 130,000 stateless persons Lebanese citizenship.
2.2. languageThe official language is Arabic in the form of Syro-Lebanese and Palestinian dialects. Arabic is spoken by 93% of the population. French and English are mainly used in business and education. The French spoken in Lebanon is often mixed with Arabic expressions, which make up "Franbanese". There are other languages such as Kurdish and Armenian.
2.3. religionLebanon is a secular but multi-denominational state. The constitution does not provide for a state religion. On the contrary, it unconditionally guarantees freedom of conscience and belief and freedom of exercise. Around 17 religions or sects are officially recognized in Lebanon, 15 of which are organized by laws and decrees. The religious communities can be divided into three broad groups: Christians (30-40%), Muslims (60-70%) and Jews. With the exception of the Jewish community, which is a tiny minority in Lebanon (approx. 1,000), the other two communities are divided into numerous groups: There are 12 communities among Christians, divided into two large groups:
- Communities that do not recognize the authority of the Roman Church; That means the Greek Orthodox, (300,000), the Syriac Orthodox or Jacobite (20,000), the Armenian Gregorian (150,000), the Nestorian (10,000) and the Evangelical, who of about 12 Protestant churches (40,000).
- the communities under the authority of the Pope: The Maronites (775,000 - 1.8 million), the Greek Catholics or Melkites (337,000), the Armenian Catholics (12,000), the Syrian Catholics (15,000), the Chaldeans ( 10,000), the Roman Catholics (20,000). It should be noted that the Maronites in Lebanon constitute both a religious and a political force. The leader of this community is Patriarch Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, who resides in Bkerké. The Copts occupy a new position in Lebanon after the first Coptic Orthodox Church in the country (Saint Marc) was inaugurated during the visit of the Patriarch of Alexandria in 1995. However, this community of 2,000 followers remains officially represented by the Syrian Orthodox Church.Traditionally, three communities are distinguished among Muslims:
- The Shiites - who mainly recognize the 12th Iman (Ithna Acharya) and are Jaafarites - form the largest religious community in Lebanon (32%). Its leader is Sheikh Abd al-Amir Qabalan, President of the Shiite Islamic Higher Council (Dar al-Iftaa al-Jaafari). The Shiite sects of the Ishmaelites and the Alauits (50,000) can also be found in Lebanon.
- The Sunnis - mostly Hanefis - make up the third largest community in Lebanon (21%) apart from the thousands of Sunni Palestinians. The Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Rashid Qabbani holds the title of Mufti of the Republic. He is supported by a higher judicial council (Dar al-Fatwa al-islamiyah).
- The Druze form a unified community in religious terms; on the other hand, from a social point of view, they are divided between Yazbakis and Joumblatis. The approximately 200,000 Druze are under the spiritual guidance of Sheikh Aql Druze and the Secretary General Sheikh Muhammad Abouchacra.The numerous displacements of peoples caused by the civil war - which affected nearly 800,000 people - have changed the geographical distribution of the religious communities. The shifts affected 949 villages, mainly in the center and south of the country. Since 1991, despite the numerous difficulties and opposition from certain local communities, the government has made efforts to resettle these people in their ancestral surroundings. Dozens of villages were repopulated with their former residents. The attached diagram gives an overview of the distribution of the communities in Lebanon. The Shiites live mainly in the southeast of Beirut, in the Bekaa plain (e.g. Baalbek) and in southern Lebanon (e.g. Sidon [Saïda], Nabatieh). The Sunnis are in various cities in southern Lebanon (e.g. Sur [Tire]) and in the north of the country (e.g. Tripoli); the Druze live mainly in the mountains of the Chouf; the Maronite Christians live in the mountains above Beirut (Metn and Kesrouan) and in southern Lebanon, the Greek Catholics and the Greek Orthodox in the Bekaa plain (e.g. Zahlé) and in northern Lebanon (Accra).
2.4. Schools and educationAlthough Lebanon does not have compulsory schooling, only 13.6% of the population are illiterate (1996), i.e. 9.2% men and 17.8% women. The public school and education system has four levels: 1. Public instruction lasts five years (11th - 5th degree). 2. The intermediate or additional training lasts three to seven years (6th - 10th degree) and is completed with the secondary school leaving certificate ("Brevet libanais"). 3. After completing their basic education, the pupil can choose either the secondary education of three years (11th - 13th degree) with a Matura diploma ("Baccalauréat"), or a vocational or technical school with a state diploma ("Diplôme d'Etat"). 4. After completing secondary education, students can pursue an academic career in one of the many universities. These are mainly located in Beirut (e.g. the Lebanese University), but also in Louaize, Baabda, Balamand, Jounieh, Tripoli. After completing their training at one of the specialized technical schools, students can continue their training at one of the technical universities (e.g. the Beirut University of Arts and Crafts). There are also faculties and high schools for Christian theology (e.g. the theological faculty of the University of Saint-Joseph [USJ] and institutes for Islamic studies [e.g. the center of Makassed, the faculty of Imam al-Ouzaï]). Public education in Lebanon has always been in competition with private education. The statistics show a clear preference of students for private schools, namely at primary, secondary and higher levels. In 1992 there were 1,287 public schools compared to 1,159 private schools and 354 vocational and technical schools, of which only 29 were public. There are two reasons for this preference for private teaching: on the one hand, it reflects the cultural and denominational conditions, and on the other hand, it ensures better education.
2.5. Medical infrastructureSince 1994 the Higher Council for Health (Conseil supérieur de la santé, CSS), which reports to the Ministry of Health, has been responsible for health policy in Lebanon. On his behalf, the CSS is supported by the Association of Doctors and Pharmacists, the private hospitals and the deans of the medical faculties in Lebanon. Lebanon has around 8,000 doctors (1995), 750 of them new every year, who are trained either in one of the three medical faculties (Lebanese University, American University, University of Saint-Joseph) in Beirut, or abroad. If Lebanon today has a glut of doctors on the one hand, there is also a lack of well-trained medical staff, especially in rural areas. The Health services in Lebanon are generally at an average to good level. In 1995, 159 public and private hospitals, 133 private clinics and maternity homes and more than 313 (1986) emergency wards and medical posts in the public and private sector were counted. The Lebanese Red Cross is the largest private organization among the numerous charitable and denominational associations. The hospital infrastructure is generally of average to very good quality, provided that it is private hospitals such as the Hôtel-Dieu de France and the American hospital. Lebanon today has an infrastructure that completely covers the following major specialist medical areas: pediatrics, ear, nose and throat medicine, cancer treatment, internal medicine, surgery, orthopedics, ophthalmology, psychiatry, cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology, urology, gynecology and Nuclear medicine. However, it should be mentioned that this infrastructure is unevenly distributed across the country and that the majority of the services mentioned, which require the latest technology, are generally to be found in the private hospitals of the capital. The medical care in Lebanon can be considered satisfactory, largely thanks to the fact that practically all medicines are available. It should be noted that, thanks to the existence of emergency stations, some of the medicines are also available in rural areas. What that public welfare As far as that is concerned, the medical sector is subject to the law of supply and demand. Although the services provided generously in public and private institutions and guaranteed by the state are free, the baksheesh given by the patient or his family often improves the care provided. These inadequate benefits from the National Social Insurance Fund (Caisse nationale de la sécurité sociale, CNSS) generally lead the most wealthy people to take out private insurance that is able to cover their individual needs, even treatment abroad.
3. Wife and familyIt is difficult to give a generally valid description of the position of women in Lebanese society, especially since this position depends on the social class, affiliation to denomination or community, the level of education and the geographical environment of the woman. According to the constitution, women have the same rights as men. Lebanese society, based on patriarchal tradition and a communal system, imposes a number of restrictions on women. These primarily concern the personal status (e.g. marriage, divorce, succession and childcare) as well as the socio-economic life of women, which is often associated with the traditional image of the woman at the stove. However, a woman who has received a higher education, comes from the middle or upper class and lives in one of the large urban areas, lives with far fewer constraints than those in the rural areas. Such women thus escape the restrictions imposed by custom and can more easily emancipate themselves. They can therefore work in government, administration, the judiciary, health care, schools, universities and even in the financial sector usually reserved for men. It should be noted, however, that political life is generally reserved for men. However, this does not prevent the women from leading a very active, sometimes oppositional, club life.
4. MediaThe freedom of the press, the media and freedom of expression are guaranteed within the limits set by law. Since returning to normal in 1991, the following governments have gradually introduced restrictions on television, radio and the press. What the audiovisual media As for the rest of the world, the government has put an end to the uncontrolled increase in radio and television stations that was common during the Civil War by enacting two new laws on media. The Law No. 382 of November 1994 defines the broad lines of the Lebanese audiovisual organizations and obliges all private stations to obtain an operating license. In addition, this law distinguishes two categories of Lebanese stations, those who are allowed to broadcast programs and news of a political nature throughout Lebanese territory and those who are not allowed to do so. The Decree No. 7997 of 02.29.1996, originally enacted for the implementation of the legal provisions, but imposes further restrictions, both on the level of the modalities for obtaining the license and in the form of provisions on the obligation to broadcast. As a result, the number of radio stations allowed in 1996 fell from 150 to eleven, and the number of television stations from 52 to six. Only three radio and three television stations are allowed to broadcast political information. What the Press as far as that is concerned, it's not just by that Law of 9/14/1962, as amended, as well as through the Law No. 112 of 1983 on printed matter, but also by certain provisions of the "Syrian-Lebanese Convention on Military and Security of September 1991". In particular, these provisions prohibit information that spreads the public interest regarding false or false news and thereby runs counter to the security of Lebanon or Syria, endangers friendly relations with foreign states, slander the president or the prime minister, disrupts public order, incites racial hatred or incite religious feelings. In 1996, several newspapers and journalists were found guilty of violating one of these vague rules by the Specialized Publications Tribunal, including Ad-Diyar, Al-Liwa, Nida al-Watan, al-Kiffah al-Arabi and al-Massira. These state measures prompted those responsible for the press and audiovisual media to introduce self-censorship on their publications and to avoid overly sensitive topics. In addition, individual media continue to be financially dependent on certain groups and embody partisan interests.
4.1. News agenciesLebanon has numerous national and international press agencies. From a Lebanese point of view, two organizations should be highlighted:
- The Lebanese Press Union (Syndicat de la presse libanaise). This association of professional journalists was founded in 1911 and is independent.
- The national information agency (Agence nationale de l'information). It was founded in 1962 and is under state control.
4.2. newspapers and magazinesAccording to the Ministry of Information, in 1995 there were ten large daily newspapers in around 40 newspapers, 96 magazines (weekly and monthly) and 273 different publications. These publications appear mainly in the following languages: Arabic, French, English, Armenian and Spanish. Here are a few Daily newspapers:
- Al-Amal (The Hope). Founded in 1939. Arabic. Owned by the Kataeb Party.
- Al-Anwar (lights). Founded in 1959. Arabic. Independently.
- Aztag. Founded in 1927. Armenian.
- Al-Hakika (The Truth). Arabic. Owned by the Amal Movement.
- An-Nahar (The Day). Founded in 1933. Arabic. Independently.
- An-Nidaa (The Call). Founded in 1959. Arabic. Owned by the Lebanese Communist Party (PCL).
- Nidaa al-Watan. Founded in 1937. Arabic. Owned by a Maronite opposition movement.
- L'Orient-Le-Jour. Founded in 1942. French. Independently.
- Sawt al-Uruba (The Voice of Europe). Founded in 1959. Arabic. Organ of the An Najjadé Party.
- Zartonk. Founded in 1937. Armenian. Organ of the Armenian Democratic-Liberal Party.Here are a few Periodicals:
- Al-Ahad (Sunday). Arabic. Hezbollah organ.
- Al-Akhbar (The News). Founded in 1954. Arabic. Owned by the PCL.
- Al-Hadaf (The Goal). Founded in 1969. Arabic. Organ of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (FPLP).
- Al-Hurriya (freedom). Founded in 1960. Arabic. Voice of the FDLP (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and the Organization for Communist Action in Lebanon (OACL).
- Al-Massira. Established in 1985. Arabic. Owned by the former Lebanese armed forces.
- Al-Afkar Amal. Founded in 1975. Arabic. Owned by the Amal Movement.
- Fikr (idea). Arabic. Owned by the Syrian National Socialist Party (PSNS).
4.3. radioDue to the aforementioned law, there are no more than eleven radio stations that are permitted to broadcast legally in Lebanon, only three of them with political programs: Radio Orient, National Broadcasting Network Radio and Radio Free Leban. The other nine stations are tied to various interest groups, often of a political nature, such as the voice of Lebanon (La Voix du Liban) of the Kataeb party, the voice of the disinherited (La Voix des Déshérités) of Hezbollah or the voice of the mountain ( La Voix de la Montagne) of the Socialist Progressive Party (PSP), and finally the Radio des Mont-Liban (Radio du Mont-Liban) of the Greek Orthodox Murr family.
4.4. watch TVToday there are only six television stations in Lebanon; they are all directly or indirectly tied to power:
- Télé-Liban (TL). Founded in 1959, owned by the government.
- Future Television. Founded in 1993, is close to Prime Minister Hariri.
- Murr Television (MTV). Founded in 1990, is close to the Interior Minister Murr.
- National Broadcasting Network. Is close to Nabih Berri.
- Lebanese Broadcasting Compagny International (LBCI). Is close to Maronite pro-Syrian MP Suleiman Franjieh.
- Reference should also be made to Manar TV, owned by Hezbollah, which is authorized to broadcast information about the activities of the resistance movement in South Lebanon.
5.1. National economyThe Lebanese economy is recovering increasingly, although this recovery has been slow due to the civil war and even showed a negative trend in certain sectors during 1991 and 1992. In 1996 the trend towards growth has generally continued (6.5% in 1995, but 4% in 1996 due to regional tensions) thanks to positive measures taken by the government to rebuild and stimulate the economy. In numbers:
- Structure of the gross domestic product (PIB): This is divided between agriculture (13%), industry (18%) and services (68%). The national debt grew to US $ 11 billion in 1996, mainly caused by an increase in construction costs and the weak national income.
- Foreign trade: The trade balance was in deficit in 1996 (US $ 5.92 billion), which is mainly due to the strong imports in connection with the reconstruction, the modernization of the automobile park and the industrial revival.
- Balance of payments: It has a surplus (US $ 786 million) as it benefits from an influx of capital from Lebanese who have emigrated abroad and from foreign capital for the benefit of reconstruction.But this development, which appears positive, is still too fluctuating to speak of economic stability. The major works in the center of Beirut (Horizont 2000) - a political symbol for national reconciliation and an international image of the success of the Hariri government - do not allow us to forget the numerous infrastructural deficits and the considerable everyday problems that the majority of the Lebanese population still has to endure . The recent Israeli military operation against Lebanon (April 1996), which caused damage of around US $ 500 million, with the exception of the 15 years of war, have destroyed or damaged practically all infrastructure: traffic routes, ports and airports, the telecommunications network, housing, the drinking water system and healthcare. In addition, there is a weak currency, high inflation (15%), a spirit of general corruption and an ever lower standard of living. So everything is misused into a source of profit, up to and including the illegal trade in weapons and drugs. The living conditions in Lebanon are fragile and unstable for the following reasons: the climate of distrust among different faith communities persists; social tensions are exacerbated by the unequal distribution of wealth; purchasing power remains weak. In addition, the cost of living remains high, while wages are too low to enable a family to have a decent life (minimum wage for all professions [S.M.I.G.] of 300,000 LL or ~ 200 $ on 2.5.1996); Finally, the comparatively high unemployment does not help to alleviate poverty, which still affects a third of the population.
5.2. Employment situationThe working population is officially around 900,000 people, 75% of whom are men. Given the needs of the reconstruction, this workforce would actually be insufficient. Nevertheless, the employment situation is extremely unfavorable with an unemployment rate of 15 to 30%, which affects mainly the young. There are various reasons for this contradiction:
- Since the Lebanese economy is practically exclusively oriented towards the tertiary sector, this has led to the other sectors being neglected. There is a shortage of skilled Lebanese workers in industry, commerce, construction and agriculture.
- In view of this shortage and the costs of construction, the Lebanese or foreign companies (e.g. Solidère) have resorted to cheap labor who are happy to get work at all, such as the Syrian labor force (estimated at 650,000 in 1994) and the Palestinians. This means that the locals are excluded from the manual activities.
- Finally, it should be noted that the boys prefer an academic career in view of the hoped-for better earnings prospects in connection with the economic upturn. But many of them do not find the right job for their training. Some leave Lebanon with the hope of finding happiness abroad.
5.3. currencyThe currency is the Lebanese pound (LL), which equals 100 piastres (PL). There are essentially two types of money in Lebanon:
- The Metal moneyConsisting of coins of 5, 10, 25 and 50 piastres and 1 Lebanese pound.
- The Paper money, consisting of banknotes of 1, 5, 10, 25, 100, 250, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 pounds. The last four banknotes were introduced in 1994.There is no official rate for the Lebanese pound. However, it has a legal parity which is set daily by the Bank of Lebanon in relation to all other foreign currencies on the basis of their real exchange rates on the market. In July 1997, US $ 1 was worth 1,537.67 LL.
6.1. Means of communicationEvery Lebanese citizen can travel freely both inside and outside his country. Freedom of movement is somewhat restricted because of the checkpoints of the security forces (Lebanese or Syrian forces) on the Lebanese streets and because of draconian restrictions in the security zone of southern Lebanon by the pro-Israeli militia (ALS). Additional restrictions may be imposed on the traveler:
- The husband can forbid his wife and underage children to leave Lebanese territory;
- Young men of military service age (18-30 years) must have special permission from the military authorities if they want to leave the country legally or can prove that they are exempt from compulsory military service or have completed it;
- A stay in Israel is prohibited for all Lebanese citizens. It should be added that certain Lebanese undertake business trips to Israel or spend vacations there, which, thanks to a permit from the Israeli authorities, can get there via southern Lebanon or via Jordan or Cyprus.Lebanon officially has a 7,100 km long road network (of which 1,990 km are main roads), a railway network of 412 km (of which only the Beirut - Rayak line works), two civil ports (Beirut and Jounieh) and five commercial ports (Beirut , Tripoli, Jounieh, Sidon [Saïda] and Sur [Tire]). Since 1992 the government has invested heavily in the reconstruction of the port and airport of Beirut as well as in the rehabilitation of the most important road connections. Routes through which one can leave Lebanon:Airway: Beirut Airport (Khaldé) is served by more than 30 airlines. Departure via the airport remains the fastest way to leave the country, but for a wanted person it is also the one with the greatest risk due to the numerous controls in which IT is also used. Lebanese security forces and employees as well as members of the Syrian intelligence service work side by side there. Sea route: The main civil and commercial ports (Tripoli, Jounieh, Beirut, Sidon [Saïda]) are controlled by the Lebanese authorities. During the civil war there were around 15 illegal ports where smuggling was carried out. Since May 15, 1991 most of them have been closed by the authorities. Land route: The coast road Tripoli-Beirut-Sur (Tire) and the road Beirut-Damascus are the main traffic axes in Lebanon. They allow the connection with Israel through the security zone in south Lebanon and with Syria through the Bekaa plain.
6.2. Travel documentsThe following documents are required when returning to Lebanon:
- Lebanese nationals need a passport or identity card (valid or expired), or an extract from the family register. (A person wanted by the police by court order will not be issued a passport.)
- Syrian nationals only need an identity card to enter Lebanon by land; For a stay longer than three months you need a passport or a visa. In March 1994, Syria and Lebanon signed a protocol to make it easier for their citizens to cross the border between the two countries. This agreement allows Lebanese citizens who have neither a passport nor an identity card to enter Syria only with a "register certificate" (Attestation de registre).
- The Palestinians are subject to special restrictions depending on their status: If they are registered as refugees with UNRWA, they must have a valid refugee in accordance with the London Conventions of 1946 and Geneva of 1951 'Travel document' (Travel Document) in order to be able to leave Lebanon; the Palestinians who do not belong to this category but who are registered in Lebanon generally receive a 'Travel Document for Palestinian Refugees' or sometimes a 'Laissez-passer'if you have a Palestinian refugee card (blue) issued by the Lebanese authorities.In addition to these papers there is the Visa requirement for all Palestinians who have left Lebanon since September 25, 1995 or want to return there.
- The Stateless persons, as well as the officially unregistered Palestinians, the Kurds and others must have a valid 'laissez-passer' in order to be able to travel.The identity of a Lebanese citizen was previously established with certainty when he presented his passport. Since March 1997 the government has issued a new, currently (July 1997) forgery-proof identity card. Above all, it has numerous security features and all of its data is recorded using EDP.
7.1. Head of stateThe President of the Republic, a Maronite Christian, is elected by secret ballot with a two-thirds majority of the votes by the Chamber of Deputies for a term of six years and cannot be directly re-elected. Nevertheless, the President Elias Hraoui was elected on November 24th, 1989 and - following a constitutional amendment (Art. 49) - confirmed in his functions for a further three years in October 1995. The head of state is the symbol of national unity. His prerogatives include being responsible for enacting and enforcing laws, but virtually all of his decisions require the consent of the Prime Minister, who has the power to co-sign.
7.2. State governmentAs a result of the Taef Convention, which was incorporated into the Lebanese constitution in August 1990, there was a transfer of power from the president to the head of government. The President of the Council of Ministers or Prime Minister is necessarily a Sunni. He is appointed by the President after consulting the MPs and the President of the National Assembly. The Cabinet of Ministers consists of 30 ministers. It must reflect the various community currents represented in Parliament and it is accountable to it. As a result, the government can theoretically be overthrown by parliament. There was severe government instability in Lebanon under the presidency of Hraoui. Several cabinets of ministers followed: S. Al-Hoss (13.11.1989 - 6.9.1991), O. Karamé (6.9.1991 - 6.5.1992), R. Al-Solh (18.5.1992 - 22.10.1992), R Hariri (10/22/1992 -). The latter was appointed a third time in October 1996. The instability of the governments mentioned is not primarily related to the fragility of the political mechanisms, but to the socio-political instability due to the lack of legitimacy of state institutions, to the post-war tensions among the various Lebanese communities and to the economic difficulties of the country.In addition, at the end of 1996 the government was still not a national pluralistic coalition, but continued to unite mainly pro-Syrian currents. Since the signing of various treaties with Syria in May 1991 with regard to economic issues as well as defense and security, Lebanon's political system has also been encroaching on its independence. Any decision regarding the national or regional security of Lebanon is subject to Syria's approval. Likewise, any tension or crisis in the triumvirate - it unites the three Lebanese presidents (President of the Republic, Government and Parliament President) - goes before the chief arbitrator, that is, the Syrian President Hafez el-Assad. Despite this 'de facto' paternalism, certain political actors believe that this is the price to pay for ensuring internal stability.
8. ParliamentThe legislature consists of one chamber, the National Assembly (Majlis An-Nuwab). The parliament, which is elected every four years according to the proportional representation system, originally consisted of 99 seats. These were divided according to religious affiliation, although the Christians were in the majority (in a ratio of 6: 5). Since the adoption of the Taef Convention (Document of National Unity of October 22, 1989), the number of MPs has been increased successively from 108 in 1989 to 128 in 1992. The mandates are currently given in equal parts, namely in a ratio of 5: 5, to Christians and Muslims. The seats are then distributed equally among the communities of each group and evenly among all regions. The holder of the post of President of Parliament has been a Shiite since October 20, 1992, M. Nabih Berri. The distribution of seats is as follows: GROUP Before Taef After Taef Since 1992CHRISTIANS Maronites 30 30 34 Greek Orthodox 11 11 14 Greek Catholic 6 6 8
(Melkites) Poor Orthodox 4 4 5 Poor Catholic 1 1 1 Protestants 1 1 1 Others 1 1 1 TOTAL 54 54 64MUSLIMS Sunnis 20 23 27 Shiites 19 23 27 Druze 6 7 8
Alaouites - 1 2TOTAL 45 54 64 TOTAL TOTAL 99 108 128 The parliamentary elections of 1996 led to a consolidation of the 1992 results. The main characteristics of the new parliament are as follows:
- As in 1992, it continues to represent a large part of the political and community diversity of Lebanese society.
- It does, however, consolidate the tendencies favorable to pro-Syrian politics. Almost 75% of MPs are therefore close to the Hariri government.
- With a few exceptions, few MPs represent critical positions towards the government. Indeed, the opposition, excluding Hezbollah, holds only 6.25% of the seats.
- In contrast to 1992, there was no massive boycott of the Christian opposition, but only symbolic participation.In summary, the new National Assembly remains essentially non-pluralistic. However, it has greater popular legitimacy than in 1992, although certain sources point to numerous irregularities in the elections. The presence of two women in Parliament should also be noted.
9. AdministrationLebanon is divided into five administrative districts (Mohafazat: North Lebanon, Mont-Leban, South Lebanon, Bekaa and Beirut), which in turn comprise 24 districts (Caza). The districts are also divided into around 678 parishes (Wilaya) (see the political map). The Taef Agreement provides for decentralization and expansion of the powers of governors and mayors. The government runs the Lebanese administration. Like all other Lebanese institutions, it suffered from structural paralysis during the 15-year civil war, but it functions normally again. The administration remains highly corrupt and is characterized by nepotism. Projects for the restructuring of the administration are emerging, but the implementation of reforms, especially with regard to the renewal of the state apparatus, is still suffering from inefficiency and inconsistencies. South Lebanon, the zone occupied by Israel, is in a special situation, as 125 villages there are directly under the control of the Israelis and 33 villages are controlled by the pro-Israel militia, the South Lebanese Army (ALS). In other words, these villages are administered by a civil and military administration according to a non-Lebanese system. The villages in the zone are allowed to participate in the Lebanese parliamentary elections under certain conditions.
10. ElectionsThe new electoral law of June 24th, 1996 partly incorporates the elements of June 1992, but provides for the following changes: The (secret) elections for the whole of Lebanon are carried out at the Mohafazat level (administrative districts), with the exception of Mont-Liban where they take place in the Caza (districts). This formula made it possible at the same time to maintain a certain clientele in a certain constituency, but above all to separate the ranks of the Christian opposition in Mont-Liban. This new law aroused fierce controversy following a complaint by some MPs to the Constitutional Council, claiming that the said law was incompatible with the principle of equal treatment for all citizens. The council declared the contested law to be invalid and gave the government the solution by expressly stating that there was no exception clause which would allow an appeal to "extraordinary circumstances". The 1996 general election took place between August and September. As stipulated in the law, the seats within each constituency were distributed proportionally among the communities. Strictly speaking, the electoral system causes a majority vote according to the names on the list. However, majority voting is weighted by the need to distribute it according to denomination. Each MP usually embodies his or her constituency and religious community at the same time. The seat of the representative is strictly reserved for his community, but this representative is elected by the entire constituency. Since this is not completely uniform in terms of denominations, a candidate presents himself on a multi-denominational list. The larger the constituency, the more the candidate is dependent on non-partisan support in order to be elected (see Table of the distribution of the communities). The assembly that emerged from the 1996 polls has greater legitimacy than that of 1992, despite the numerous reported electoral irregularities. From the government's point of view, the election results are positive in two respects: On the one hand, it was achieved that the parliament gained in homogeneity in favor of a pro-Syrian orientation, on the other hand, that the Christian opposition between the exiled Lebanese, who called for a boycott, and those in the country , which were ready to return to constitutionality, was split up. What the Municipal elections as far as that is concerned, there have not been any since 1963. Initially in 1997, then planned for 1998, Parliament finally decided to postpone it until April 1999.
11. Law and JusticeDuring the civil war, the judicial system was completely paralyzed. At present, judicial institutions are functioning almost normally across the territory, with the exception of the Israel-controlled security zone and the Palestinian camps, which have their own judiciary.
11.1. LawThe Constitution uses general terms to specify that the judiciary functions within the framework of a statute defined by law (Art. 20 of the Constitution). It is therefore primarily the legal texts and the decrees, as well as the associated criminal provisions, which stipulate the organization of the courts, the civil and criminal proceedings. However, certain areas of private law, such as personal law, have been left to the jurisdiction of the communities (Islamic, Christian and Jewish), which are governed by specific denominational laws or codifications. The main criminal laws are as follows:
- The Law on the Organization of Justice of 1961
- the Criminal Proceedings Act of 1948
- the 1943 Criminal Code
- the 1946 Military Criminal Code, abolished by the 1968 ActThe Lebanese judiciary is currently going through a crisis. Although constitutionally independent, it is not spared from interference by the political authorities. Also, the efficiency of the judiciary is by no means optimal, especially at the procedural level, although it appears that the judgments are made in the ordinary course of proceedings. In the regions where state authority has not been fully restored, its enforcement remains uncertain. Furthermore, since 1992 there has been an increasing militarization of the judiciary (increase in military courts, military examining magistrates and public prosecutors). Numerous cases that actually belonged to the competence of the ordinary criminal courts are increasingly being transferred to the military courts.
11.2. Ordinary courtsThe Lebanese judiciary consists - like that of France - of hierarchically structured courts, which decide in civil, criminal and commercial matters. Schematically shown, the structure is made up of three entities:
- The Case law of the first instance (Justice of the Peace and Court of First Instance) is responsible for civil and criminal disputes assigned to it by law. Lebanon has around 56 courts of first instance with a single judge.
- The Case law of the second instance or the Court of Appeal deals with appeals against the judgments of the courts of first instance and judges particularly serious civil and criminal cases in the first instance. Lebanon has eleven courts of appeal, five of them in Beirut, each consisting of three judges.
- The Third instance jurisprudence or the Court of Cassation reviews the judgments of the lower courts in response to an appeal, with the option of confirming the judgments, setting them aside and, if necessary, rejecting them. These courts also assess the conflicts of jurisdiction between different state court instances (e.g. conflict between civil and community courts). Lebanon has four courts of cassation in Beirut, three of which deal with civil and one with criminal matters.
11.3. Special dishesThe (State) Court of Justice is a special feature of the structure explained above. It is formed on a case-by-case basis by decree of the Council of Ministers after consultation of the judges and the public prosecutor's office and is composed of the first president, a further president and four judges of the Court of Cassation, a substitute judge, a General Procurator of the Court of Cassation or one of his deputies. Its substantive competence is limited to the assessment of criminal offenses directed against state security, with the exception of certain criminal offenses which fall within the competence of the military judiciary. Its seat is in the Palace of Justice in Beirut.
11.4. Military courtsLebanon has a special jurisdiction for judging the crimes accused of military personnel. The Lebanese Military Criminal Code and the Military Code describe these exceptions and, in principle, do not apply to civil actions or to actions involving military personnel in non-military offenses. The structure of military jurisdiction is three-tiered: five military courts of first instance, one court of appeal (Beirut) and one court of cassation (Beirut). Each military tribunal is composed of five judges (one of whom is a civil person) and four officers. The one with the highest degree fulfills the function of president.
12. Military and security forces
12.1. militaryThe army has undergone major restructuring since 1991. The approximately 48,900-strong army (1996) is under the command of General Gemile Lahoud (Maronite). A general staff headed by Major General Abu Dirgham (Druse) commands the 2,500 officers and their operational units, which are divided into five military regions, as well as the eleven multi-denominational brigades, the regimental commands for selective operations, and the logistics units, the military police and the presidential guard. In short, the Lebanese army in 1997 is a disciplined army, which is able to fulfill its role as guarantor for the state institutions and for the defense of the national territory, despite still limited material resources. However, it should not be forgotten that the position of the military and the political credibility of the army are still fragile after the presence of Israeli (1,500 men) and Syrian (30,000 men) troops each occupying part of Lebanon in their own way hold; the Israelis the security zone in southern Lebanon, the Syrians almost exclusively the Bekaa Valley and northern Lebanon. What the Compulsory military service as far as this is concerned, it affects, with special exceptions, every Lebanese citizen between the ages of 18 and 30, if they are called up. The service has lasted twelve months since 1993. After completion of the compulsory period of service, soldiers up to the age of 49 belong to the reserve. In the event of a breach of duty, the conscript or military person is subject to the statutory sanctions, especially the Military Criminal Code (CPM).
- In the case of refusal to serve, the recruit is sentenced to prison for at least three months to two years in peacetime and from two to five years in wartime.
- In the case of desertion in the interior of Lebanon, the military person is punished in peacetime with imprisonment from six months to three years; twice as much is provided in times of war.
- In the case of desertion and flight abroad, the military person receives a prison sentence of two to five years in times of peace and up to ten years in times of war.
12.2. Police and gendarmerieInternal security is generally guaranteed by the internal security forces (FSI). In addition to the tasks that are generally assigned to them (e.g. the maintenance of law and order, control of all activities directed against the internal stability of the country, as well as the prevention of criminal offenses), these forces also perform administrative and judicial functions. The FSI report to the Ministry of the Interior and coordinate certain activities with the Lebanese army (e.g. fight against crime, drug trafficking, internal security). With 13,000 members, the FSI is organized in the same way as the army (e.g. 6 brigades) and subject to the same military obligations. The main units of the FSI are the General Staff, the Central Administration, the Territorial Police under General Rafic Hassan, the Mobile Reserve Battalions, the Beirut Police, the Port and Airport Police. The head of the FSI is Brigadier General Umar Makhzumi (Shiite).
12.3. MilitiasThe era of the hegemony of the militias during the civil war (1975-1990) has given way to state control over practically the entire Lebanese territory since March 1991. The majority of the militias have been disarmed. Several thousand members of the militia were integrated into the army or the FSI. The only exception are the militias in South Lebanon.
- The South Lebanese Army (ALS), under the leadership of General Lahad, in cooperation with the Israeli troops (Tsahal), controls a security zone of approx. 1,000 km². The ALS counts around 2,500 people on a draft basis, sometimes also forcibly recruited militiamen. In principle, all men between the ages of 18 and 35 are responsible for compulsory service.
- The Islamic resistance (al-muqawamah al-Islamiyah), an army branch of Hezbollah, actually forms the militia army tolerated by the Lebanese and Syrian authorities, as its mission is to fight the Israeli presence in southern Lebanon. It consists of 1,000 to 3,000 fighters and carries out guerrilla actions against the security zone of the Bekaa Valley or the Iqlim al-Touffah. However, their actions are limited to southern Lebanon.
- In addition to these two militias, there are the smaller anti-Israel militias Palestinian groups, which belong to the anti-Arafat resistance front (dissident Fatah, Fatah-CR, FPLP-CG) or smaller ones Islamic groups (e.g. Hamas, Islamic Jihad). These groups operate from the camps in South Lebanon against the security zone or sometimes collaborate with the Islamic Resistance.
12.4. Secret servicesThe Lebanese intelligence services are divided into two major services:
- On the one hand, the civil secret service is formed by General Security (Sûreté générale, el-Aman el-Am), under the direction of Raymond Roufaël, who is mainly responsible for monitoring foreigners and non-Lebanese associations or groups that are active on the national territory. On the other hand the state security (Security de l'Etat) under the direction of Nabih Farhat and Antoine Traboulsi, with the task of collecting political information. The two departments are under the control of the Ministry of the Interior.
- The military secret service will be moved from the second office (Deuxième Bureau) the Lebanese Army or the Military Intelligence Bureau (Bureau des Services de Renseignements Militaires) educated. This office, headed by Miche Rabhani, is part of the Ministry of Defense.The Lebanese civil and military intelligence services work closely with each other as well as with the various Syrian intelligence services and the Lebanese and Syrian security forces.
13. Detention and the execution of sentencesVarious human rights organizations report that the government is making arbitrary arrests and detentions. The Lebanese security forces, especially the military procurators, often do not respect the legal requirements for arrest and detention. In addition, these forces continue to arbitrarily arrest political opponents, journalists and human rights defenders. Since the reasons for arrest brought against these people are insufficient, they are usually released again. It was also reported that the Syrian army forces made illegal detentions and sometimes even took prisoners to Syrian prisons. In this way, 210 Lebanese would be incarcerated in Syria. It should be noted that the militias of southern Lebanon (Hezbollah, Palestinian groups and the ALS) - without a legal basis and in violation of recognized international law - also arbitrarily arrest and detain Lebanese citizens. Often these prisoners serve as an exchange between the militias. What the Penal system As far as that is concerned, the penalties pronounced in the judgments largely respect the legal framework and are also carried out in the spirit of the law. However, whether this is the case depends on the financial resources of the court administration and the penal institutions. The Lebanese prison infrastructure has two major problems: on the one hand, the mixing of almost all categories of offenders of all ages and, on the other hand, the overcrowding and unsuitability of the prisons. Finally, it should be noted that the militias of southern Lebanon use their own justice to convict those they consider guilty. Without a legal framework, these individuals cannot benefit from the minimum defense guarantees during their trial.
14. General human rights situationThe expansion in 1991 and the strengthening of the rule of law and legality in 1992 have strengthened the government's control over Lebanese territory, with the exception of southern Lebanon, the Israeli security zone and the areas directly adjacent to it. In general, the unanimous opinion of human rights organizations is that the situation has not improved but, on the contrary, has deteriorated in certain areas. Certain rights, such as freedom of the press, radio and television, freedom of expression and association, as well as the exercise of certain political rights (authorization requirement for the formation of political groups, persecution of open opposition critical of the regime) remain restricted. Reference should also be made to the role of women, which traditionally experiences restrictions without, however, being associated with fundamental discrimination. Certain rights are more restricted, such as the freedom of assembly and the freedom to demonstrate, which according to a decree of 1993 cannot be exercised without the express permission of the Ministry of the Interior. The call for a strike by the CGTL union with the aim of protesting against the cost of living and demanding a wage increase prompted a nationwide 16-hour ban on going out and massive intervention by the security forces on September 19, 1996. In 1996 the following human rights violations in particular were found: attacks on the physical integrity of the accused during questioning by the police; unequal application of the amnesty of August 26, 1991; precarious conditions for certain prisoners and prisoners, arbitrary arrests of alleged political opponents; the existence of parallel justice systems to the state organs (Palestinian groups, South Lebanese Army, Hezbollah); an obscure judicial system that sometimes confuses the civil and military sectors; Abuses in the exercise of power by the Lebanese and Syrian forces and the use of the death penalty. In the areas of southern Lebanon beyond the direct control of the Lebanese government, human rights violations appear to be much more frequent, but remain difficult to measure.
15. Political and religious movementsThe actors in Lebanon's political life are numerous and very diverse.
15.1. International and foreign movements
- ALS (South Lebanese Army):Historical development: After invading Lebanon twice (1978 and 1982) with the aim of wiping out the PLO, the Israeli forces gradually withdrew towards southern Lebanon. Together with the ALS (2,500 men), the militia they are protecting, they have set up a security zone on the Israeli-Lebanese border. The Israeli armed forces (IDF or Tsahal) and the ALS continue to militarily control the aforementioned region and, in addition to air strikes and frequent bombing of the positions of the Islamic resistance, carry out selective and targeted incursions outside their zone of influence in southern Lebanon.Area of influence: The security zone covers an area of around 1,000 km², in which around 150,000 Lebanese live under the control of General Lahad, the chief commander of the ALS. Only a few transit points allow access to southern Lebanon.
- Syrian Army:Historical development: Syria, which has been involved in the Lebanese conflict since 1975, has increasingly strengthened its political and military position in Lebanon, to the point of having a decisive influence on the fate of this country. Legitimated by the Taef Agreement, Syria retained its position through the Syrian-Lebanese Agreement on Brotherhood, Cooperation and Coordination (Traité de Fraternité, de coopération et de coordination Libano-Syrien) of May 22, 1991 and the Security Agreement of September 1, 1991 consolidated. The Syrian troops in Lebanon, estimated at around 30,000 men, have been supporting the Lebanese armed forces in controlling Lebanese territory since General Aoun was overthrown on October 13, 1990. According to the Taef Agreement, said troops should have been stationed elsewhere in September 1992. However, according to the Lebanese government, military stability in Lebanon depends on this presence.Area of influence: The Syrian armed forces exercise almost exclusive control in northern Lebanon (Tripoli) and the Bekaa plain. They are actively supported by several political groups or former allied militias, such as the Syrian National Socialist Party (PSNS), the Frangie clan and its al-Marada party, as well as the Waad von Hobeika party. In the center of the country, the Syrian troops and their secret services (Moukhabarat) share their security tasks with the Lebanese troops. Beirut is only theoretically under the exclusive control of the Lebanese army. The Syrian troops are no longer represented in southern Lebanon, across the Awali River.
- PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Groups):Historical development: Although the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was expelled from Lebanon by the Israelis in 1982, it has been present in Lebanon again since 1990. Although it was unable to renew the Cairo Agreement of November 3, 1969, nor to obtain recognition of the status of a foreign authority, in July 1991, in return for certain concessions on its part, it entered into a modus vivendi with the Lebanese authorities can agree. In 1992 a PLO office was reopened in Beirut. The autonomous territories in Israel, which have been under the control of the PLO since 1993, are increasingly questioning the presence of the Palestinians in Lebanon. The Lebanese authorities seem to oppose any establishment and settlement of the Palestinians on Lebanese territory. In addition, in April 1994 the PLO began to collect the weapons in the refugee camps in order to transfer them to the new Palestinian police in Israel. Several hundred Palestinians, generally close to Fatah, have left Lebanon to join the ranks of the Palestinian security forces in the autonomous regions. Since 1994 the PLO has practically disappeared as an actor on the Lebanese scene. At the same time, the organization has stripped the Palestinian refugees of their infrastructure and support. In 1997, only a few Palestinian refugees still refer to Yasser Arafat. Many of them have joined anti-Israel organizations that oppose the Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Among these organizations, which usually compete with one another, are above all the Fatah-CR of Abu Nidal, Saïqa of I. Al-Kadde, the PFLP-GC of Ahmed Jibril, the PFLP of G. Habasch and the dissident Palestinian Grouping of Mounir Maqdah. Area of influence: The armed Palestinian groups are mainly in the refugee camps in southern Lebanon. Some of them take part in the operations of the Islamic Resistance against the Israeli security zone. · FINUL (United Nations Peacekeeping Troops): With Resolution 425 of the UN Security Council, the UN's interim troops, composed of around 4,500 men, were created on March 19, 1978. Their mission is to monitor a buffer zone of 500 km² in the south of Lebanon between the Israeli security zone and the bases of the Islamic Resistance. Several agreements between the FINUL and the Lebanese authorities have enabled an increasing expansion of state control in the area mentioned.
15.2. Lebanese groupsThe parliamentary elections of 1996 led to the consolidation of those currents which are favorably disposed towards the fundamentally pro-Syrian government policy. The essentially extra-parliamentary and fundamentally Christian opposition remains meaningless.
15.2.1. Main parties / parliamentary groups
- Amal (Afwaj al-Muqawamah al-Lubnaniyyah): Shiite, pro-Syrian movement founded in 1974 by Imam Moussa Sadr, who disappeared four years later in Libya; It is currently led by Sadr al-Din al-Sadr (party president) and Nabih Berri, currently President of the Lebanese Parliament. Until 1991, the 2,000-strong militia army essentially controlled West Beirut and the region of Sur (Tire), although it rivaled 'Amal islamiya' and Hezbollah. Since an agreement signed on November 5, 1990, she has had a more or less peaceful relationship with the latter. In the course of 1991 the Amal movement disarmed and has since taken an active part in Lebanese politics. Armed groups of the Amal in southern Lebanon have been participating in the operations of the Islamic Resistance against Israel since 1992. In 1996 the Amal movement was represented in parliament with 23 representatives and provided two ministers.
- Hezbollah (Party of God): Shiite, fundamentalist, pro-Iranian movement with anti-Israel tendencies. It was founded in 1983 and is headed by the Sheikhs Fadlallah and Nasrallah. Numerous groups, such as the Hezbollah, are under the influence of Hezbollah IslamicJihad, the Oppressed the earth, the islamic amal or the Organization of Revolutionary Justice. Hezbollah is also affected internally by renegades, notably Sheikh Sobbih Touffayli. Hezbollah, which refused to surrender its weapons in 1991, has the leadership of those directed against Israel Armed Front of the Islamic Resistance accepted. In military terms, the organization can count on the government's tolerance, direct support from Iran and indirect aid from Syria. However, their military presence in Lebanon, which is estimated at between 1,000 and 3,000 men, is limited to southern Lebanon and the Bekaa plain. It entered the political scene on the occasion of the parliamentary elections of 1992 by winning eight seats. In 1996 Hezbollah was represented in parliament with nine members. In addition to its military and political activities, Hezbollah maintains numerous social, medical and educational institutions. She has also exercised judicial power based on Sharia law.
- PSNS (National Syrian Socialist Party): The party was founded in 1932. She is an advocate of a Greater Syria. Since 1986 it has been split into two rival tendencies: On the one hand, this Comité suprême from Inaan Raad and on the other hand into that Comité d'urgence by Ali Kanso. The party officially no longer has a militia since 1991. A certain number of militiamen have participated in the actions of the Islamic Resistance in southern Lebanon since 1991. Politically led by Dawoud Baz, Hafiz as-Sayeh (President) and Anwar al-Fatayro (General Secretary), the party strengthened its position, especially in the north and center of Lebanon, by electing six members in 1992 and five in 1995. The PSNS is represented in the government by As'ad Hardan.
- PSP (Socialist Progressive Party): Mainly Druze party founded by Kemal Joumblatt in 1949. His son Walid has been the leader since 1977. In 1991 the PSP had a militia army of between 4,000 and 15,000 men. A large part of the militiamen has joined the Lebanese army. In political terms, the party - albeit split in two directions - has a major influence on the Chouf and secured 13 seats in parliament in 1996. Three members of the party, Walid Joumblatt, Muhsin Dalloul and Akram Shuhayib, are ministers in the current government.There are other parties that are present in Parliament in 1996: the pro-Syrian parties al-Waad by Elie Hobeika and Marada by Suleyman Frangieh as well as the fundamentalist Sunni Jamaa Islamyyawhich is close to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Armenian Party Tachnag and Moustapha Saad's party (OPN).
15.2.2. Opposition parties / extra-parliamentary opposition groupsAs mentioned above, the Christian boycott of the 1996 parliamentary elections was less significant than that of 1992. The opposition is thus divided between the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary parties.
- BNL (National Block): Founded in 1943. Led by Raymond Eddé, Sélim Salhab (President) and Jean Hawat (General Secretary), the aim of the BNL is the equal distribution of state power among Christians and Muslims within the framework of Lebanese nationalism. The party is resisting the dual occupation by Syria and Israel. The BNL is mainly represented in the Jbeil and Metn regions.
- FL (Forces Libanaises): Emerged on July 7th, 1980 from the union of the militias of the Kataeb, the National Liberal Party, the 'Gardiens du Cèdre' and the Tanzim. This Christian militia was led successively by Béchir Gemayel, Fouad Abou Nader, Elie Hobeika and, since 1986, finally by Samir Geagea. This had fallen out with the party in 1985 after a disagreement with E. Hobeika, the future head of the pro-Syrian Vaud party. After the FL entered the war with General Aoun - chief commander of the Lebanese army, who had turned against the government since 1989, the militia became a political party on September 28, 1991 after some of their weapons were surrendered to the government forces. The Lebanese authorities have been closely monitoring the Forces libanaises since 1991. Several of its members have been involved in assassinations and murders since 1990. Some of the perpetrators were sentenced to death for these offenses. The FL have been banned since March 23, 1994. Its chief leaders, Samir Geagea and Fouad Malek, are currently in prison.
- Kataeb (Phalangist Party or Lebanese Social Democratic Party): Was founded in 1936 by Pierre Gemayel and is now run by Georges Saadé (President), Georges Umayrah (Vice President) and Karim Paqraduni (General Secretary). The party is nationalist, reformist and social democratic. Various Christian-Lebanese tendencies have come together from 1976 in the Lebanese Front (Christian) as a counterparty to the Liberation and Unification Front (Muslim). The Phalangist Party united these Christian tendencies until 1985 and established various politico-military groups.
- PNL (National Lebanese Party, Parti national libanais): Founded in 1958 by the Chamoun. Wants to reform phalangist politics in Lebanon. Pro-western orientation, but with traditionalist features. The PNL is currently run by Dory Chamoun. Since November 1996 the PNL has been participating in an opposition organization, the Lebanese National Group.
- GNL (National Lebanese Group, Groupement national libanais): Founded on November 21, 1996.This opposition organization brings together the PNL and a number of political figures, such as ex-general M. Aoun, former president A. Gemayel, Elie Karamé, and several ministers. Their primary aim is the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Lebanon, the approval of political confessionalism, the preservation of private and independent education and the realization of a "consensus democracy".
15.2.3. Illegal parties and movementsThe Ministry of the Interior decided in February 1992 to ban the activities of nearly 138 political parties and various associations, especially those of the pro-Iraqi Ba'ath Party of A. Al-Majid Rafei (National Command Wing), the Popular Front Party and the Revolutionary Arab Labor Party. There were around 230 parties and groups during the civil war. Today's dissident movements are not necessarily illegal. Due to their political orientation - mostly aounistic orientation - they are in opposition to the current Lebanese government. Political questioning, however, exposes the groups or persons concerned to pressure or even arbitrary arrests by the Lebanese and Syrian authorities. Some of them are: the National Lebanese Congress (Congrès national libanais, CNL), the central office of the national coordination (Bureau central de coordination nationale, BCCN), led by Najib Zouein, the Movement of bill of exchange (Mouvement du changement), presided over by Elie Mahfouz, the Front of the Lebanese People (Front du peuple libanais), directed by Joseph Haddad, the United Movements of Resistance (Mouvements unis de resistance, MUR), that Noble people of Lebanon (Peuple noble du Liban), the world front led by Roger Azzam for the liberation of Lebanon (Front mondial pour la Liberation du Liban, FMLL).
15.3. UnionsAll working people, with the exception of civil servants, have the right to form trade unions. The Confédération Générale des Travailleurs du Liban (CGTL), chaired by Elias Abou Rizq, forms the umbrella organization of 22 trade unions of Lebanese workers. Lebanon has around 160 trade unions and associations that defend the interests of workers.
15.4. Religious groupsUp until now, Lebanese politics has been characterized and shaped by denominational diversity. Since the Taef Agreement, the separation of church and state has been on the agenda. Such a measure has already been taken within the army.
15.5. Human rights organizationsThe activities of associations for the defense of human rights are not officially prohibited. However, their work is limited by attempts to pressure and intimidate them. The Lebanese groups in this regard therefore impose their own censorship on themselves. In April 1996, however, Amnesty International was able to conduct an investigation into the Cana massacre.
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