Lebanon: Parliamentary vote a historic victory for thousands of relatives of the missing

Responding to the Lebanese parliamentary vote approving a bill to address the issue of the missing and disappeared in Lebanon, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director, said:
“Today’s vote brings long overdue national acknowledgment of the plight of the thousands of relatives of people who went missing or were forcibly disappeared during the 1975-1990 armed conflict in Lebanon.
“Since the mid-1980s, relatives have relentlessly raised their voice despite the fear of repercussions from armed groups and foreign military forces involved in these violations. They have faced physical harassment, and perhaps most painfully, societal isolation, but continued with one, unique demand: ‘We want to know’.
“This law, which was initially presented by civil society organizations following two years of consultations, is a major step towards the creation of a national commission. With a mandate to investigate individual cases, locate and exhume mass graves and enable a tracing process which will finally provide closure to the families.
“This would be the first time Lebanon acknowledges and addresses in a meaningful manner one of the most painful legacies of the conflict, which affected all communities across the country. Appointing appropriately qualified members of the national commission should be the immediate next step.”