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Pass Amendments to Protect Peaceful Dissent

(Nairobi) – Senegal’s new counterterrorism laws could punish political speech and peaceful protest as “terrorist acts,” target union leaders, and dangerously expand police surveillance powers, Human Rights Watch said today. The government and…
People flee teargas thrown by riot police during a protest against the proposed counterterrorism law and penal code reform at the Cheikh Anta Diop University campus in Dakar, Senegal, June 25, 2021.
News
Mariam Seif Eddine is a Lebanese journalist known as a staunch critic of Lebanon’s corrupt ruling elite and of Hezbollah’s role in the country. Since the nationwide uprising began on October 17, 2019, Seif Eddine has been subjected to a vicious…
An injured journalist receiving treatment after clashes between security forces and demonstrators during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon on January 14, 2020.
News

At least 60 investigated for social media posts since October 17

(Beirut) – Fourteen Lebanese and international organizations announced on July 13, 2020 the formation of a “Coalition to Defend Freedom of Expression in Lebanon” to oppose the Lebanese authorities’ attempts to stifle free speech and opinion in the…
Lebanese protesters wave national flags during demonstrations to demand better living conditions on October 21, 2019 in downtown Beirut.
News

Scores Injured; Hold Security Forces Accountable

  (Beirut) – The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) unjustifiably used excessive, including lethal, force against protesters in Tripoli on April 27, 2020, killing one protester and injuring scores more, Human Rights Watch…
An anti-government protester holds a Lebanese flag in front the riot police during a protest against the deepening financial crisis, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
News
"We are coming back." This promise from Lebanese citizens flooded social media on April 17, the six-month anniversary of Lebanon's anti-government uprising. Just a couple of months ago, Lebanon's streets were buzzing with…
Lebanese protesters wave national flags during demonstrations to demand better living conditions on October 21, 2019 in downtown Beirut.
News

At Least 29 Investigated for Defamation, Insult Since October 17

(Beirut) – A spate of prosecutions since the outbreak of nationwide protests on October 17, 2019 against activists and journalists critical of government policies and corruption is threatening free speech and opinion in Lebanon, Human Rights…
Lebanese protesters wave national flags during demonstrations to demand better living conditions on October 21, 2019 in downtown Beirut.
News

Scores Injured; Hold Officers to Account

  (Beirut) – Lebanon’s riot police beat and violently arrested largely peaceful protesters and media workers during demonstrations on January 15, 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. The Interior Ministry should…
Riot police arrest a protester outside a police station in Beirut, Lebanon on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.
Report
Summary “This free speech that we enjoyed for a while is over, and we are now back to the pre-2005 era. Only, instead of the Syrian army, we have the Lebanese state.” Hanin Ghaddar, Lebanese journalist. In recent years, Lebanon’s criminal…
News

Thousands Investigated for Defamation after Previous Protests

(Beirut) – Lebanese authorities have been increasing their reliance on insult and defamation laws to silence journalists, activists, and others critical of government policies and corruption, Human Rights Watch said in a report released…
An activist holds a computer keyboard and makeshift handcuffs in downtown Beirut on July 24, 2018, during a protest against the recent wave of interrogations by Lebanese security forces of people making political comments online.
Video
(Beirut, November 15, 2019) – Lebanese authorities have been increasing their reliance on insult and defamation laws to silence journalists, activists, and others critical of government policies and corruption, Human Rights Watch said in a report released…
News

Security Forces Using Excessive Force to Clear Streets

(Beirut) – Lebanese security forces have failed to stop attacks on peaceful demonstrators by men armed with sticks, metal rods, and sharp objects, Human Rights Watch said today. The security forces have also used excessive force…
Violent groups attacked anti-government protesters and torched their tents in downtown Beirut, Lebanon on October 29, 2019.
News

Riot Police Fired on Crowds with Tear Gas and Rubber Bullets

  (Beirut) – Lebanon’s security forces used excessive and unnecessary force against protesters in downtown Beirut on October 18, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. The Internal Security Force’s riot police fired tear gas at…
201910mna_lebanon_teargasmain
News

Government Censors Indie Band Instead of Protecting Free Speech

(Beirut) – The Byblos International Festival Committee has cancelled the indie band Mashrou Leila’s August 9, 2019 concert, Human Rights Watch said today. The committee cited security considerations and said it wanted to avoid “bloodshed,”…
A group of Lebanese activists chant slogans as they hold Arabic placards that read: "Freedom of expression," right, and "With Mashrou' Leila against the suppression of freedoms.
Video
The world famous Lebanese band, Mashrou’ Leila, has become the latest victim of Lebanon’s criminal defamation and insult laws, encapsulating the alarming crackdown on free speech in a country once proud to embrace diversity. Mashrou’ Leila is…
News

Artistic Freedoms under Threat from Outdated Laws

The world famous Lebanese band, Mashrou’ Leila, has become the latest victim of Lebanon’s criminal defamation and insult laws, encapsulating the alarming crackdown on free speech in a country once proud to embrace diversity. …
The popular band Mashrou' Leila
News

Freedom of Speech Under Threat in Lebanon

Through discussions with Lebanese citizens about the space for free speech in the country, we have found that many Lebanese say they take solace in the belief that despite the government’s failure to provide even the most basic services…
An activist holds a computer keyboard and makeshift handcuffs in downtown Beirut on July 24, 2018, during a protest against the recent wave of interrogations by Lebanese security forces of people making political comments online.
News

Repeal Laws Criminalizing Peaceful Speech; Drop Charges

  (Beirut) – A pattern of prosecutions for criticizing officials is threatening freedom of speech and opinion in Lebanon, Human Rights Watch said today. Last week, On January 24, 2018, in the latest such case, the…
Lebanese members of parliament attend a parliament discussion in Beirut, Lebanon, October 17, 2017.
News

Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

Selman Samaha Facing Unfair Trial Following Facebook Posts

Lebanese authorities are failing to abide by their obligations to protect individuals from unfair trials and to ensure their right to freedom of expression, nine human rights and media organizations said today, following yet another criminal investigation…
© 2017 Yarek Waszul for Human Rights Watch