Public Actions

Parliament passes law on disappeared

Monday, November 12, 2018

Lawmakers Monday endorsed a landmark law creating a national commission to investigate the whereabouts of thousands of Lebanese citizens forcibly disappeared during the Civil War (1975-90), in a legislative session that saw MPs churn through draft bills.
he law on the forcibly disappeared saw a divisive debate in Parliament, with many MPs registering objections, including specifically to Article 37.

The article aims to hold accountable those found to be involved in the disappearances, of which there are around 17,000.

Progressive Socialist Party MP Akram Chehayeb said the bill could lead to increased political strife in the country. “I don’t know why we want to open all the graves that were closed,” he said. PSP MP Bilal Abdullah warned that the article could lead to the indictment of ministers, MPs and officials.

Lebanese Forces MP George Oqeis also objected, claiming the article “shows the real intentions behind this law.” This was in apparent reference to LF members’ involvement in the disappearances that could be targeted by the article, in a law that was partially drafted by Hikmat Deeb, an MP with the LF’s rival, the Free Patriotic Movement.

Other lawmakers expressed their support for the law. When Future MP Hadi Hobeish objected to extra spending on the commission, MP Paula Yacoubian hit back that “a million dollars” to clear the minds of families with missing loved ones was worth it.

Tashnag MP Hagop Pakradounian agreed, as did the FPM and Kataeb blocs.

A motion to refer the law back to parliamentary committees for further study failed. Then, an article-by-article vote was held leading up to its passage.

Soon after, Wadad Halawani, the founder of the Committee of the Families of Kidnapped and Disappeared in Lebanon, was seen walking out of the portion of the chamber reserved for visitors in tears.

“Thirty-six years I’ve been working toward this. I don’t know what to say,” she told The Daily Star.

Acting Bodies: 
Lebanese Parliament
Social rights (women’s rights, human rights...)
Approved/ Ratified
Civil Society Response: