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Activities page

The NGO Forum directs the following programs:

¤ The Rights Programme, formerly known as the "Migration Unit Project", which provides services to and information on vulnerable social groups, including the displaced, refugees, migrant workers, stateless and undocumented persons and, especially, women and children.

More specifically, the project involves:

* Facilitating access to legal aid services free of charge in close cooperation with the
Legal Aid Commission of the Beirut Bar Association;

* Implementing a project of
Legal Popular Education for the displaced persons (1997-1998). The topics related to the return of the displaced were selected and presented to the displaced populations in the villages of return. Special information files were made available to the displaced populations and legal aid was provided to solve problems resulting from displacement.

Human Rights Information & Documentation:
- Gathering information on vulnerable social groups and disseminating it through bulletins, manuals, and brochures in Arabic, French or English;
- Preparing and publishing in-depth studies on matters relating to vulnerable social groups;
- Maintaining a specialized library;

Monitoring legal instruments pertaining to human rights and preparing updated reports on the web for each of these instruments;
- Training of NGO workers on monitoring and reporting;
- Creation of
electronic networks (the Women Rights Monitor and the Child Rights Monitor) to monitor the application of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Child Rights Convention (CRC).

Regional networking to cooperate on the advancement of human rights in the Middle East: the development of standard models, indicators and other relevant tools.

* Organizing
seminars on international human rights conventions affecting vulnerable social groups, and examining their implementation in Lebanon;

* Participating, on an annual basis, in UN working committees, and exposing to them relevant information as well as recommendations;

* Working to improve the condition of
prisoners in the context of the Committee for Coordination and Action for Prisoners (CAP).

¤ The NGO Forum also directs the Institutional Development Training Program, to improve the performances of different Lebanese NGOs and allow them to develop their human resources. This has included, to date, organizing 21 training sessions and 51 workshops on technical and administrative matters.

¤ The Emergency and Relief Program was implemented in 1993, and is designed to respond to the ongoing violence in southern Lebanon. Efforts are primarily concentrated on providing relief aid to victims of the fighting and resettling those forced to evacuate their villages.
In 1989, representatives of the Lebanese NGO Forum met with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Xavier Perez de Cuellar, at the "Palais des Nations", in Geneva, to discuss the possibility to secure the first "humanitarian corridor", in war-raging Beirut; and also to the same end, with Mr. Bernard Kouchner, then French Secretary of State for Humanitarian Action. The concept of "humanitarian corridors" was applied later in war-torn Yugoslavia.

¤ The Social Legislation and National Causes Program focuses on defending and advocating social causes affecting Lebanese civil society, in particular vulnerable groups. The program specifically involves developing and amending social legislation to protect the underprivileged

¤ The Forum also runs a Studies and Research Program to promote and publish research on its activities as well as on those of NGOs in general. This is then distributed to relevant NGOs, which may find the results useful for their own activities.

¤ Between 1997 and 1999, the Forum initiated the Lebanese Parliamentary Center program. The idea was to bridge the gap between parliament and civil society by providing a forum for dialogue and exchange between elected representatives, representatives of civil society, and government officials. The program was established with the assistance of the Canadian Parliamentary Center, the European Union, and the Center for Legislative Development at the State University of New York (Albany).

¤ The Forum also organizes conferences and seminars to encourage exchanges of information between experts, especially staff members of Lebanese NGOs, state institutions, and UN bodies.

¤ In order to honor exemplary members of Lebanese NGOs and state institutions, the Forum has established an NGO Honors Program. The objective is twofold: To reward individuals who are members of NGOs for their social activities. And to encourage government officials to assist in such activities, while recognizing those who have. In a related effort, the Forum periodically honors prominent individuals for their achievements in socially-related activities.