“Candidates for Lebanon’s parliament should be making firm commitments to strengthen human rights protections during these difficult times for Lebanon,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged on Monday.
HRW had asked Lebanese candidates, earlier in April, to fill out a questionnaire regarding human rights issues in the country.
According to the organization, only 9 candidates and 1 political party for Lebanon’s parliamentary elections were willing to commit to focusing on human rights whereas “none of the parties in the current parliament made any human rights commitments.”
“In the midst of an acute economic crisis and global pandemic, the need to protect rights in Lebanon has never been more urgent,” said Aya Majzoub, Lebanon researcher at HRW.
She added that “the candidates urgently need to address these important issues, and voters should make clear that the members of parliament need to follow through with important legislative protections for human rights.”
Per the organization, the main priorities concerning human rights are:
Justice and accountability
The economic crisis
The electricity crisis
Freedom of expression
Migrant domestic workers
Sexual orientation and gender identity
Rights of persons with disabilities.
HRW also urged the new candidates to repeal laws that “criminalize defamation, criticism of public officials, and consensual adult sexual relations” and support the investigation into the Beirut Blast investigation, lift immunity for parliament members, and support accountability.
“Lebanon’s next parliament has an important opportunity to reverse the backsliding of rights in Lebanon and pass legislation that enables everyone in Lebanon to live a dignified life,” said Majzoud.
“We hope the next parliament will use these priority areas as a roadmap to improving the human rights situation in the country,” she stressed.
The countdown for the May 15 elections has started, with only a few days away from this most awaited democratic event.
The Lebanese diaspora has already cast their votes on May 6th and 8th according to what they want for their homeland, partaking as such in its fate as they hope for a major change in many aspects.
In Lebanon, the Lebanese are now readying for their turn to vote for what could be a new parliament focusing first and foremost on Lebanon’s national interests and the wellbeing of its people.