||The NGO Forum directs the following
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.
specifically, the project involves:
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
- Preparing and publishing in-depth studies on
matters relating to vulnerable social groups;
- Maintaining a
* 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).
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
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.
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
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
¤ 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