US State Department report on the status of human rights in Lebanon.
--This page generated by WaterFall v3.6; NaviSite --Secretary Rice Meets with Kurdish Leader...|Daily Press Briefing|Whats NewUnder Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Releases Human Rights 2004 Near East and North AfricaLebanonCountry Reports on Human Rights Practices-2004Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and LaborFebruary 28, 2005Lebanon is a parliamentary republic in which the President is a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies a Shia Muslim. President Emile Lahoud took office in 1998 after an election by Parliament that was heavily influenced by Syria. In September, in a locally unpopular move, Syria pressured parliamentarians to pass a Constitutional amendment to extend President Lahouds term for 3 additional years; it will now end on November 24, 2007. The Parliament consists of 128 deputies, equally divided between Christian and Muslim representatives. In the 2000 parliamentary elections, incumbent Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss lost his seat in a contested election, and former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri then was named Prime Minister by President Lahoud. According to international observers, the elections were flawed; however, there reportedly were fewer voting irregularities than in the 1996 parliamentary elections. The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, in practice, it was subject to political pressure. Syrian military and Lebanese and Palestinian militias, particularly Hizballah, retained significant influence over much of the country. Approximately 15,000 Syrian troops were stationed in locations throughout the country, excluding the area bordering on Israel in the south of the country. In September, Syria claimed to have carried-out a redeployment of its troops in the country, withdrawing approximately 3,000; however, the actual number is believed to be less than 1,000. An undetermined number of Syrian military intelligence personnel in the country continued to conduct their activities independently. In 2000, following the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) withdrawal from the south, the Government deployed more than 1,000 police and soldiers to the former Israeli security zone. However, the Government has not attempted to disarm Hizballah, a terrorist organization operating in the region, nor have the countrys armed forces taken sole and effective control over the entire area. Palestinian groups, including armed factions, operated autonomously in refugee camps throughout the country. The security forces consist of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) under the Ministry of Defense, which may arrest and detain suspects on national security grounds; the Internal Security Forces (ISF) under the Ministry of the Interior, which enforce laws, conduct searches and arrests, and refer cases to the judiciary; and the State Security Apparatus, which reports to the Prime Minister and the Surete Gener