I am pleased to present the “Community Security and Access to Justice” report, a comprehensive assessment of the justice and security sector in Lebanon undertaken by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), focusing on access to justice for both Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities.
The study shows important positive developments such as the remarkable abilities of Lebanese communities to address and face the challenges resulting from the Syrian crisis and the proactivity of district and municipality members who have addressed the insecurity within communities. The report also highlights the successful and inclusive platforms that help communities address the challenges they face showcasing the district cell of Nabatieh, which brings state and nonstate actors together to discuss security issues. Also among the encouraging findings are the positive results of the new domestic violence law, though important enforcement challenges still remain. Finally, the assessment notes the fact that Lebanon’s Rule of Law institutions are staffed and supported by many talented and well-qualified people. This capital is a fertile resource for innovation.
Since the beginning of the war in Syria, the arrival of large numbers of Syrian refugees has meant new challenges for Lebanese communities, including how to build security and justice in a context where Rule of Law institutions were already facing long-standing issues. This report highlights a number of challenges hampering access to security and justice services such as the strong focus on a state security approach by the security forces, the inadequate resourcing of criminal justice institutions that have not received any additional funding, and finally, the relatively low number of legal prosecutors that oversee investigations, monitor detention, and present cases in the courts.
The report recommends that Rule of Law institutions become more responsive to the needs of the population. It also calls for differentiated security and justice services for the most vulnerable groups, such as unemployed youth, victims of domestic violence, and the poor, who often do not have access to the legal assistance they need to deal with minor disputes.
I hope this report will help to address the immediate security challenges faced by Lebanese society, both host communities and Syrian refugees and will encourage various stakeholders to engage in a constructive dialogue on how to improve and guarantee security and justice for all, building on the National Human Rights Action Plan and the recently approved law instituting a National Human Rights Institution.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative