Category Archives: Human Rights

Lebanese military shameless in their persecution of human rights campaigners.

I picked this up on Middle East Transparent’s English language website. It reflects a brutality that seems to persist in so many parts of the world, particularly – as we have seen, throughout the Middle East  over the last year or so.

The case has been ongoing since last March. It is clearly in response to “a complaint filed by Amal Movement against The Lebanese Centre for Human Rights (CLDH), following their publication on February 10, 2011 of a report entitled Arbitrary Detention and Torture : the bitter reality of Lebanon.” 

Over sixty pages, the report’s authors detailed systematic abuse, arbitrary detention and torture by the security services, particularly from Amal Movement affilliated officers. The Amal Movement was the military wing of a major Syrian-backed  Shia Faction from the Lebanese Wars. Hizbollah is an offshoot and reluctant ally of this bunch. After the  Taif Agreement brought an end to the Civil War, around 9,000 of their 14,000-16,000 forces joined the new Lebanese Army and security services.

This isn’t the only case of corruption and persecution of human rights campaigners in Lebanon. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on Saadeddine Shatila, of the international human rights group Alkarama,  who is claimed by a military court to have “published information harmful to the reputation of the Lebanese Military.”

The general director of the Palestinian Human Rights Organisation (PHRO), Ghassan Abdallah and Hatem Meqdadi have been detained, harassed and interrogated with Meqdadi held for four days and subjected to conditions the US playfully like to call ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ and which the rest of us know as torture.

Of course, such abuses aren’t unique to Lebanon.

While the whole world proclaimed the marvel of  ‘free and democratic elections in Egypt’, the military rulers – who have never released their grip on the reins of power – took steps to silence dissent using Mubarak’s 2002 NGO law (which will likely be amended following the elections) that has amongst it’s restrictions  on operating in Egypt, a ban on receiving funding from foreign countries.

The Saudis meanwhile, seemingly detain Saudis (subjects/citizens) and torture them just because they are disabled.

As for Syria, they are utterly debased – maniacally clinging to power by slaughtering unarmed protestors and arresting journalists, human rights observers and others.  HRW has documented reports of abductions, torture (sometimes to death), executions…

Such corruption of the human spirit seems to be endemic throughout the world, and as the last few decades of conflict and then last year’s Arab Spring have shown us, it is deeply rooted in many Arab societies, in most cases because the military see their role not as protectors and defenders, but as overseers and dicators – the ones who know and decide what is best for everyone. Until the military grasp on the balls of  Middle Eastern politics becomes a gentle cupping, we will continue to see such abuses and the factionalism and petty squabbles that divide otherwise strong nations or prevent the oppressed from making a unified stance shall continue.

Yesterday, Human Rights Watch issued their World Report 2012, which I’ll write about some more in a couple of days, once I’ve read it. Click the link and watch their Arab Spring video and download the PDF, if you are interested. It’s pretty slick and it starkly shows the importance of social media in the political upheavals of  the past twelve months.


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