Since its inception, ACT has been working with the Committee of the Families of the Kidnapped and Disappeared in Lebanon (hereon out referred to as the Committee) to lobby for the creation of a national commission to investigate the fate of the missing. A draft law was drafted and submitted to the Lebanese parliament in 2012. It still awaits deliberation and adoption.
ACT also works on generating greater public visibility for the cause and engages with civil society to support the right to know of the families through the preparation and dissemination of informational materials, including TV spots, animation films, posters, publications, via creative campaigns.
Over the last years, progress has recently been achieved on this issue through the State Council's (Shura Council) recognition of the 'right to know' and the submission of a draft law aiming at establishing a commission to uncover the fate of the disappeared.
In light of the State’s failure to address the issue for over three decades, civil society led by the family associations, has developed a concrete plan based on Lebanese legislation and on international standards:
- Create an exhaustive database of the disappeared.
- Create a national database of the families of the disappeared, including their DNA data.
- Locate and protect sites of mass and individual graves on all the Lebanese territory, exhume any remains found in a proper scientific and legal manner, and proceed with the identification of these remains and the DNA matching in order to return them to their families, for a dignified and rightful burial.
- Conduct investigations in cooperation with the public prosecution, to gather information about those who are believed to have been handed over to Syria or Israel and take the necessary steps in view of securing the release of persons detained in secret or the return of remains.
- Create a national institute to manage and implement this plan. The draft law submitted by the family associations and civil society organizations constitutes the legal framework that shall be used as a basis for discussion about the legal framework and means to create this national institute.
- Reform the criminal code so as to introduce enforced disappearance as a separate and distinct crime.
- Ratify the Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance and incorporate these texts into Lebanese domestic law.
How we advocate and lobby?
- Strategic litigations
ACT supports the family associations (namely the Committee of the Families of the Missing and Kidnapped and the family committee represented by SOLIDE) in an ongoing judicial process which they initiated in 2009, to have their right to know acknowledged by Lebanese courts. The objective is to lead to a judicial decision that recognizes the existence of mass graves and protect them in view of their future exhumation.
- Law for the creation of an independant investigation commission
In light of the State’s failure to address the issue for over three decades, civil society led by the family associations, has developed a concrete plan based on Lebanese legislation and on international standards. The legal framework proposed by the civil society has been inspired by other countries’ experiences.The draft law submitted by the civil society lays down the mechanism for the collecting and management of information, location and mapping of sites of graves, exhumations, matching and identification and return of remains to the families, all while involving the families throughout the entire process.