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* This report has not been edited before being submitted for translation.
** For the second report submitted by Lebanon, see CRC/C/70/Add.8; for its consideration by the Committee, see documents CRC/C/SR.751, 752 and CRC/C/15/Add.169.
1-2-10-2 The international program for the elimination of child labor (IPEC) 5
67. The Lebanese government signed a memorandum of agreement with ILO and IPEC and launched the program in 2000. IPEC funded in Lebanon, with the support of the French government ten projects having the following objectives:
(k) The prevention of school drop out and early entry into the labor market for children residing in Palestinian camps in Lebanon.
SPECIAL PROTECTION MEASURES
8-1 Refugee Children
(iv) Leisure activities
458. The refugees program organizes during summer time of each year summer camps in collaboration with social facilitators and specialists. Around 55 refugee children participate. The program includes cultural and leisure activities that emphasize the importance of co-existence and reconciliation between all groups and races living on the Lebanese territories. In addition to teaching children daily life skills namely: daily dental hygiene, personal hygiene, housekeeping work, taking care of personal items. The program also organizes parties, outings and theatre for children.
459. Awareness raising programs were developed for the Middle East countries in order to introduce the communities to the refugee issues and incite them to help them, including training workshops for social workers in order to provide services to refugees and emergency assistance. Relevant publications were prepared and disseminated in all Middle Eastern countries.
(b) Constraints hindering services to refugees
460. Unavailability of specialized education programs that prevent school drop-out and help integration of refugee children in Lebanese schools. Lack of vacant places in Public schools, especially in Beirut. The declining quality of education in many private schools. Psychological instability of refugee children and their mysterious future.
( ii) Health
461. The high cost of all medical services in Lebanon in comparison to low incomes. Limited resources and capacities in governmental hospitals, especially governorates and regions outside Beirut. Insufficient number of governmental hospitals.
462. The Housing facilities are frequently inadequate, requiring rehabilitation of populated streets in relation to cleanliness, water, playgrounds…
463. There is a need to provide children with the relevant documentation in order prove their legal status on the Lebanese territories. Early Child Labor (12-13 years), dropping out of school and joining the labor market. Arrest of parents and adolescents for several reasons, whereby affecting negatively children in relation to living, emotion, education and psychology. Unemployment that impact negatively on all aspects of children lives. The unstable situation of refugee children that affect their integration in the Lebanese society.
8-1-3-2 Services provided to Palestinian refugee children
464. The overall registered Palestinian Children (0-18 years) with UNRWA until 2003 was approximately 126960 (64977 Male and 61983 Female). They receive social services that are provided by UNRWA. 52
(a) Types of services provided to Palestinian refugees
(i) Health care services
465. UNRWA provides children from birth until 3 years of age the following health services:
467. UNRWA provides education to Palestinian refugees in all educational levels: primary, complementary and secondary; in addition to training teachers on new curricula and special campaigns for introducing children to their rights and sponsoring cultural activities for students. Children Rights booklets, posters and education materials are distributed to schools in order to inform children about their rights. The number of children enrolled in various levels (2003): Primary 29472, Complementary 10258, Secondary 2292.
468. Teachers were trained on analyzing the contents of Arabic language books and social sciences in order to highlight the concepts pertaining to children rights that are available in these books. Training was provided using educational story “Under the Willow Tree”, that was distributed to students and that promotes children rights principles as well as conflict resolution, forgiveness and tolerance.
(b) Constraints that deprive Palestinian refugees of their rights 53
469. Article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, pertaining to Non-Discrimination, sets out the obligations of the Lebanese republic in ensuring the rights of refugee Palestinian children. However the United Nations Decision number 302(4-D), conferred the responsibility of providing humanitarian assistance to refugees and ensuring their rights to UNRWA.
470. The issued property law (Decree 296) in May 2001, prohibits Palestinian from the ownership of property and deprives them of the right to transfer their already purchased apartments and deeds to their children. The Lebanese government considers the Law in harmony with its opposing stance to the resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
( ii) Rights to health and social care
471. Although the health indicators of Palestinian children (Infant Mortality, Under Five Mortality Rate and Nutrition indicators), have shown substantial improvement, which can be attributed to the preventive health program at UNRWA, the reports (mentioned earlier), indicate that 11% of children (over 5 years) suffer from chronic health problems and 7% suffer from critical problems. 53% of children below 5 years of age suffer from various diseases. The prevalence of diseases among Palestinian children is directly related to poverty and substandard housing and unhealthy environment where they live.
472. Palestinian children seek health services at UNRWA and The Palestinian Red Crescent Society that provide these services in spite of their limited resources. In addition to NGOs health centers that provide health services to Palestinian communities. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society manages several hospitals, however the medical personnel, equipments and available hospital beds are not sufficient to satisfy the health care needs of thousands of people.
(iii) The standard of living
473. Article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that” States parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. However UNRWA statistics show that more than 50% of registered children live in 12 overcrowded highly congested formal camps in very bad environmental conditions lacking all infrastructure that is required for a humanly decent life.
474. Lebanese authorities forbid the construction of new camps, expansion of existing camps. renovation and reconstruction, in order to prevent the consolidation of the Palestinian presence in Lebanon and implicitly accept the forced resettlement and destroy the principle behind the right of return. This principle is of great importance for both the Lebanese as well as the Palestinian population and they hold on to it. Consequently, UNRWA was unable to contribute to the renovation of 3 camps located in the south due to the Lebanese authorities’ decision to ban the introduction of construction materials into the camps since 1998, which eventually lead to the deterioration of the situation of these camps due to limited areas and tremendous increase in the population size.
475. Around 5% of refugees (approximately 21,000) live in substandard housing compounds, lacking adequate health and environmental conditions.
476. As for the informal and random housing compounds of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, they are in even worse shape than the formal camps, where the residents suffer from multiple problems related to the deteriorating health and environmental conditions as well as the deprivation from the simplest types of social services. At the Gaza buildings just next to the Shatila camp in Beirut, lives around 262 Palestinian families. More than 6 family members live in one room in inadequate health conditions, with one bathroom per 30 persons. The scarcity of social services on all levels from either UNRWA or the Lebanese government makes the social and living conditions unbearable. The situation is partly alleviated by services provided by NGOs and by international humanitarian organizations.
(iv) The right to education
477. The educational levels of Palestinian children is not comparable to that of Lebanese children or even to Palestinian children living in neighboring Arab hosting countries. Out of three Palestinian children in Lebanon, aged 10 and above, one child leaves school before finishing primary or intermediate. The drop out rate is 39%, which is 10 folds higher than for Lebanese students for male and female alike. As for those holding high-school degrees or higher education they are few in numbers and they are 2 folds less in comparison to Lebanese students.
478. It is worth mentioning that students quit school and join the labor market out of de-motivation caused by the lack of quality education or for economic reasons in order to increase the family income and improve their living conditions. Those opting to pursue their education and they are few, try to get enrolled in free governmental schools. Furthermore, places are limited in these schools, and priority is given to Lebanese students whenever they are available.
479. The great responsibility falls upon UNRWA. However its allocated budget is not sufficient to cater to the educational and social needs of Palestinian children, due to their increase in number. This fact is impacting negatively on the quality of education. Class overcrowding is severe in UNRWA schools, it might reach 55 students per classroom. Accordingly a two shift system was adopted, aiming at allowing the highest number of students to acquire education.
(v) The right to association
480. The Lebanese Law deprives Palestinian children of their right to form associations, since such a right is linked to the fact that only associations can be formed if two thirds of the members are Lebanese.
(vi) Right to name and nationality
481. The Lebanese Law prohibits Lebanese women of giving the Lebanese nationality to their children whenever they get married to a foreigner. Many Palestinian men who got married to Lebanese weren’t able to register their children or acquire Lebanese nationalities. Whereas in certain Arab countries this woman’s right is ensured regardless of the father’s nationality.
8-2-3 Social and economical impact on children
486. The Israeli invasion to Lebanon lasted around 25 years and it is still occupying part of its territories. This war destroyed the infra structure and all the sources of human power, and the children got the greatest loss. They were deprived of opportunities to develop in normal conditions; they were deprived of playing, nutrition, inability to move between regions, and consequently made them live in an unsettled economical, social, psychological, and health state.
8-2-4 Impact of war on the psychological state of children
487. The Israeli war that was launched on Lebanon exerted a great impact on the psychological state of children, rendering them obsessed and anxious from the sound of explosions and, sound barrier. This created a permanent state of anxiety that confused them and hindered their mental functioning. In line with this situation; a lecture held at one of the Lebanese universities in November 2003 results showed that 70% of children are experiencing post traumatic stress disorder due to the war and its atrocities.
488. It is worth mentioning the existence of some social and psychological rehabilitation programs that are undertaken by relevant governmental institutions and NGOs on the level of the family and community that attempt to treat the physical and psychological effects incurred by children affected by armed, and promote their reintegration in the community.
490. What adds to the complexity of the problem, is the presence of an unlimited number of mine fields with unknown places to date, a large number of disseminated cluster bombs and unexploded missiles within inhabited areas, in the fields and gardens where around 46% of the injuries occurred as a result of bombs explosions, it is to be noted that the bombs attract the attention of children because of its diverse artistic shapes.
491. The problem of mines in Lebanon entails on Israel an international responsibility in conformity with General International Law and UN Covenants. (According to LaHaye, Geneva, and Ottawa Conventions).
Distribution of injured and killed children below 18 years due to
mine explosions and their derivatives from 1998 to 2003
8-2-6 Policy of expulsion and compulsory recruitment
492. The random captivity and forced compulsory recruitment on all those who reached fifteen years of age during the occupation period resulted in reducing educational access and achievement for children, lack of health care, and the emergence of post traumatic stress disorder as well as other psychological and neurotic severe syndromes for children, because these children were living the threat of being forced to join the armed troops and suffered from related obsessions. The Lebanese law stipulates that no one individual below eighteen years age has to undergo compulsory recruitment into armed forces. It is to be noted that the resistance to the Israeli occupation in the South of Lebanon didn’t recruit children who haven’t attained 18 years of age.
8-2-7 Health status of children as a result of Israeli aggressions
493. Most of Lebanese children lived a difficult health situation especially those who were living in the South, where the successive bombing of canons and missiles and air raids led to a large number of deaths and caused cases of amputations, disabilities, heart attacks and psychic disturbances. Just as the usage of internationally banned weapons (depleted uranium, phosphorus, cluster, nails) in daily attacks led to a increasing the number of pulmonary and neurological diseases , and heart attacks as well as long term negative effects that might appear with time. The circumstances that were prevailing during the Israeli occupation prevented the needed medication from reaching children in a timely manner, delaying their treatment and aggravating their health situation that sometimes led to their death.
8-2-8 Detainees in Israeli prisons including children
494. Israel has detained during the occupation period, 18 Lebanese citizens below eighteen years of age, whereby children constituting 3% of the detainees. Most of them experienced and are still suffering from chronic diseases and physical disabilities inflicted by the following:
(a) Physical torture including various types mainly: severe beating- beating after immersing the body in water- pouring hot and cold water concurrently - hanging the detainees on a pole where barely their toes touch the ground- hanging the detainees upside down- applying electric shock especially on sensitive areas- starvation of the detainees- deprivation from drinking water for several days- bandaged eyes for a long period- throwing gas and smoke grenades in the cells- rape.
(b) Psychological torture: Insults - making the parents witness the torture - threatening the detainees of assaulting his wife or daughters or female relatives - making the detain ees hear the cries of their friends during torture- threatening to kill the detainees or their relatives.
495. These actions constitute flagrant infringements of Geneva Convention No 4 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, 1949. Moreover detainees were deprived from seeing their families and children, the latter were in need of their fathers’ care and attention. Although there are Laws and Conventions and Agreements for the protection of WAR prisoners and the detainees.
Proportion of individual and materialistic damages that
affected the families of detained in Israeli prisons
Source : Civil Defense Report, the Islamic Health Organization, 1999.
496. Israel applies on the Lebanese war detained the laws in force that were applied during the British Mandate on Palestine that allows administrative arrest. Furthermore, Israel refuses to implement Geneva Convention No 3, Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, on detainees and resistance groups whereby bluntly violating the rules and provisions of International human Rights Laws that promulgated treating all the war prisoners at all times in a humane manner, and that all the detainees have the right to personal respect as well as respect of their honor, family rights, religious beliefs, customs and traditions.
497. The International Law enforces on those infracting its rules, by undertaking international illegal acts that cause harm and damages to others to assume responsibility for their deeds and thus provide compensations for the resulting losses.
498. The Lebanese government was and is still active on taking care of the liberated prisoners of war from the Israeli prisons through monthly financial assistance that are provided by the South Council, in addition to other social and health services that are provided by relevant Ministries including the Ministry of Social Affairs. It is worth mentioning that the Ministry of Social Affairs conducted an analytical survey of the needs of the ex-detainees and their families, and accordingly provided adequate assistance.
499. In addition, the Lebanese government signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflicts, and was included on the Parliamentary Council for ratification.