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Report cites torture of Lebanon LGBTs, others; seeks reform

HRW lebanon062013_reportcover
Cover of the Human Rights Watch report. (Click the image for PDF file of the report)

Police in Lebanon often mistreat or torture LGBT people, sex workers and drug users, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.

The 66-page report, titled “It’s Part of the Job: Ill-treatment and Torture of Vulnerable Groups in Lebanese Police Stations,” stated:

The most common forms of torture were beatings with fists, boots, or implements such as sticks, canes, and rulers.  The treatment of drug users and sex workers was the worst, the report said. The report concluded:

While access to redress for police abuse is generally difficult, the report found that it is particularly challenging for sex workers, drug users, and LGBT people. Of the 52 people interviewed who alleged ill-treatment, only six filed complaints, and judges ordered inquiries in only two of these cases.

The threat of exposure of their conduct or sexual orientation, which can lead to negative social consequences in Lebanon, is a barrier to reporting for members of these groups. The ways laws that criminalize sex work, homosexuality, and personal drug use are enforced exacerbate the problem and present a major obstacle to reporting police abuse.

HRW said: “Lebanese authorities should establish an independent complaints mechanism to investigate torture allegations, and donor countries should ensure that aid to the Internal Security Forces supports the establishment of real accountability mechanisms.”

The group also called for the  repeal of laws criminalizing homosexuality, drug use, and sex work.

 

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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