On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued key reforms that Lebanese candidates for the May 15 elections should take into consideration to “improve the human rights situation in the country.”
Human Rights Watch said that all “candidates are encouraged to fill out the questionnaire online about these rights issues by April 28”, and the organization will share the results before the voting date.
The main areas that HRW is focusing on are in:
- Justice and accountability
- The economic crisis
- The electricity crisis
- Freedom of expression
- Military courts
- Women’s rights
- Migrant domestic workers
- Sexual orientation and gender identity
- Rights of persons with disabilities.
According to Aya Majzoub, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, the upcoming elections can play an important role in protecting the rights of citizens “amid one of the worst economic crises in modern times.”
“Lebanese voters deserve to know where the candidates stand on these rights issues that affect everyone in Lebanon,” she added.
The HRW report highlighted the role of the candidates to commit to passing laws affecting judicial independence, create a social safety net, initiate reforms in the electricity sector, and create a civil personal status code to protect women’s rights.
The international organization mentioned that the candidates should work to give Lebanese women the right to pass on their nationality, issue laws to protect migrant domestic workers, raise the legal age of marriage to 18, and work on laws to give children with disabilities to get the needed education.
The candidates should also “pledge to repeal laws that criminalize defamation, criticism of public officials, and consensual adult sexual relations”.
Adding that “they should publicly support the domestic investigation into the Beirut Blast, lifting immunity for parliament members implicated in the blast, and support accountability, including criminal sanctions, for abuses by security forces.”
Aya Majzoub also called on candidates to use this opportunity to commit to improving the human rights situation in Lebanon, and give the mentioned issues the necessary considerations.