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Source: Committee on the Rights of the Child
15 January 2002
COMMITTEE ON RIGHTS OF CHILDREN CONCLUDES
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF LEBANON

Lebanon Has Taken Positive Measures to Promote Children's Rights,
Expert Says in Preliminary Observations


The Committee on the Rights of the Child this afternoon concluded its review of a second periodic report of Lebanon on how that country was implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. A Committee Expert, in preliminary remarks, encouraged the Government to give priority to right-based activities aimed at promoting child rights.

The Expert said that the dialogue with the Lebanese delegation had been frank and the State had undertaken a number of positive measures to promote children's rights such as the introduction of legislation.

Lebanon should strengthen its data collection and should ensure the independence of the monitoring of the implementation of the Convention, the Expert said, adding that priority should be given to right-based activities aimed at promoting child rights; the general principles of the Convention should be reflected in administrative decisions and in legislation; children deprived of a family environment should have alternative care; corporal punishment should be totally banned; and although the situation of Palestinian children had improved, support for them should increase.

The Lebanese delegation this afternoon responded to a number of questions raised by the Committee Experts, saying that the crime of "honour killings" did not exist in the country and that the Government had taken all measures so that such a social phenomenon could not take place.

With regard to corporal punishment, the delegation said that it had not been totally abolished within the society, and its use had been perpetuated by the use of light corporal punishment as part of disciplinary corrections. However, the infliction of corporal punishment in schools was banned; and teachers had no right to apply such punishment on their pupils, even in remote areas.

The delegation said that the Government of Lebanon was looking forward to the support of the international community for the creation of a child-friendly environment in the country to help the Government in its efforts to fully implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Final, written concluding observations and recommendations on the report of Lebanon will be released by the Committee towards the end of its three-week session, which will conclude on 1 February.

As one of the 191 States parties to the Convention, Lebanon is obligated to provide the Committee with periodic reports on how it was giving effect to the provisions of the treaty. The delegation of Lebanon was on hand throughout the day to present the report and to answer questions raised by the 10-member Committee.

When the Committee reconvenes at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 16 January, it will take up the initial report of Greece.

Response of Lebanon

Responding to a number of questions raised by Committee Experts this morning, the members of the Lebanese delegation said that the crime of "honour killings" did not exist in the country and the Government had taken all measures so that such a social phenomenon could be practised.

With regard to corporal punishment, the delegation said that it had not been totally abolished within the society, and its use had been perpetuated by the use of light corporal punishment as part of disciplinary corrections. However, the infliction of corporal punishment in schools was banned; and teachers had no right to apply such punishment on their pupils, even in remote areas.

Asked about the use of capital punishment, the delegation said that although its practice was not abolished by law, the issue was left to the judges whether to apply it or not. In the past, the law had impeded judges from reducing or replacing the death sentence.

In Lebanon the problem of birth registration had already been resolved and all newborns were registered officially and certificates could be issued on demand, the delegation said.

Concerning the situation of Palestinians in Lebanon, the delegation said that the final solution to the problem was the recognition by the international community of their right to return to their homeland. Among Palestinians living in camps, half of them lived in Lebanon.

Asked about the health system, the delegation said that public hospitals were all destroyed during the war and they were out of service. Private clinics were instrumental in promoting health programmes, with some of them receiving subsidies from the Government. In addition, the Government paid out at least 80 per cent of hospitalization costs of citizens in private clinics. Other health centres were financed by friendly Arab countries such as Kuwait.

In order to fight illiteracy, the Government had taken measures to intensify school enrolment, the delegation said; only 2 per cent of persons under 18 years of age were illiterate.The new law on disabled persons was being implemented and was yielding results, the delegation said. A number of disabled persons, including children, had been integrated through education and work. Last year, new members had been elected to the Committee for Disabled Persons, thus strengthening its functioning capacity.

The rate of perinatal death had not been drastically reduced from the previous rate of 28 per thousand, the delegation said. However, the Government was making all possible efforts to reduce the rate.

There had not been a single case of polio in Lebanon for many years now, the delegation said. The campaign for immunization had been effectively successful and almost all children had been vaccinated. The number of children vaccinated against measles was also as high as 90 per cent.

Violence against children in schools was not a widely spread phenomenon, the delegation said; and teachers normally behaved well towards their students and vice versa.

The use of the new school curriculum would make education more attractive to students and the rate of dropouts would eventually decrease, the delegation said. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other non-governmental organizations had been helpful in promoting the new curriculum that was expected to attract the whole student population.

The Government had implemented nutritional programmes in which problems pertaining to iodine and Vitamin A had been resolved, the delegation said.

Child labour in the agriculture sector had been a problem although that sector represented only 7 per cent of the livelihood of Lebanese, the delegation said. Only a few children were found to be working in car-repair centres.

Landmines had affected a number of people, including children, and the Government had carried out demining programmes, the delegation said. The southern part of the country was still afflicted by landmines and work had started to clear the fields.

Juvenile law offenders were detained separately from adults while girls continued to be incarcerated together with women inmates, the delegation said. Although the number of girls in conflict with the law was low, a new project had been envisaged to keep them separate from adult females.

The Government of Lebanon was looking forward to the support of the international community for the creation of a child-friendly environment in the country to help the Government in its efforts to fully implement the provisions of the Convention, the delegation said.

Preliminary Observations by Committee Expert

In preliminary observations, a Committee Expert said that the dialogue with the Lebanese delegation had been frank. The Expert noted that the State had undertaken a number positive measures for the promotion of children's rights such as the introduction of legislation.

Lebanon should strengthen its data collection and should ensure the independence of the monitoring of the implementation of the Convention, the Expert said, adding that priorities should be given to right-based activities aimed at promoting child rights; the general principles of the Convention should be reflected in administrative decisions and in legislation; children deprived of a family environment should have alternative care; corporal punishment should be totally banned; and although the situation of Palestinian children had improved, support for them should increase.


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