Lebanon Urged to Create Commission on Disappearances


Lebanon should form a "national commission on disappearances" to investigate those still missing since the country's civil war, a rights group said Saturday. 

On the eve of the U.N.'s International Day of the Disappeared, Human Rights Watch also called on Lebanon to prosecute recent cases of enforced disappearances on its territory and ratify the U.N.'s relevant convention.

"Despite repeated promises, Lebanese authorities have yet to provide the families of the disappeared with any answers about the fate of their loved ones," said Nadim Houry, HRW's deputy Middle East director

"Lebanon cannot move forward without adequately dealing with its past." 

The New York-based group said an estimated 17,000 Lebanese were kidnapped or "disappeared" during the country's devastating civil war. 

Scores of those "disappeared" during Syria's military presence in Lebanon after the war are believed to have been transferred to detention in Syria, HRW said.

Their families have continued to lobby for transparency regarding the fate of their relatives.

They have drafted a bill to create a national commission to investigate those cases, but no government action has been taken.

HRW described enforced disappearances as "among the gravest crimes in international law and may constitute a crime against humanity if part of a bigger attack against the civilian population." 

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