Definition of IDPs
The Lebanese Government and IDPs
The U.N and IDPs
NGOs and IDP
Press Review
Reports and Studies

The Internally Displaced Persons

NGOs and IDPs

Very few Lebanese NGOs have addressed displacement issues, considering the human and financial sizes of the problem as well as its political, social, economic implications. The Lebanese NGO Forum (LNF), the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and Caritas-Lebanon have in different ways contributed to alleviate the plight of the displaced persons and activate the return process.

The Lebanese NGO Forum (LNF)

Projects initiated by LNF for IDPs

The Forum launched several initiatives in displaced areas targeting its people and infrastructure. It had secured the financing of the rehabilitation of irrigation channels in el-Bireh village (el-Harf region), but most importantly the LNF initiated and implemented a 2-year project of "Popular Legal Education" for the displaced persons (1997-1998). The topics related to the return of the displaced were selected and presented to displaced populations in the village of return. Also, special information files were made available to displaced persons and legal aid was provided to solve problems resulting from displacement.

These activities represented parts of a larger project elaborated by the LNF and entitled "Resettlement Program (1995-1997)" that included a large scale project involving different aspects related to internally displaced persons.

  Precarious conditions for alternative homes

1. LNF Human Rights activities addressing Displacement in Lebanon

The Lebanese NGO Forum's primary objective is to promote specific programs that will help consolidate social cohesion and integration in Lebanon. In order to achieve this, the LNF has initiated several projects and activities to uphold the rights of IDPs and other underprivileged and vulnerable groups:

- Facilitating access to legal aid free of charge in close cooperation with the Legal Aid Commission of the Beirut Bar Association
- Human Rights information and documentation facilities (specialized library)
- Legal popular education
- Publications related to specific human rights issues (studies, manuals, reports…)
- Monitoring legal instruments pertaining to human rights and their application in Lebanon, specifically international documents and conventions related to IDPs, refugees, migrant workers, …
- Elaboration of NGO reports (alternative reports) on the CEDAW and the CRC and country reports on the situation of IDPs and migrant workers in Lebanon
- Organizing seminars, conferences and training sessions on international human rights conventions and international instruments of protection of human rights, particularly those of vulnerable groups

On the other hand, the LNF implemented in 1993 and in 1996, emergency and relief programs designed to respond to violence in South Lebanon, which resulted in massive displacement of population towards overcrowded cities. Efforts were primarily concentrated on providing relief aid to victims of the fighting and resettling those forced to evacuate their villages.

2. Human Rights: a new approach

Since the LNF strongly believes that development can not be sustained without being coupled with a solid human rights culture and democratic environment, the LNF has provided its human rights program a new dimension, using new technologies to promote the rights of vulnerable groups and based on human rights education for reconciliation and empowerment.

The LNF has developed a new approach when it established electronic networks of NGOs selected from various parts of Lebanon to disseminate information, educate, raise awareness, monitor, mobilize and collect relevant data, as well as train target groups and NGOs on issues related to these vulnerable groups. ("the Women's Rights Monitor", "the Child's Rights Monitor", "the Prisoner's Rights Monitor" can be consulted through our web site: www.lnf.org.lb).

3. LNF activities on IDPs (since 1989)

¨ January 18-27, 1989 and January 14-21, 1991: ICVA (International Council of Voluntary Agencies) Mission to Lebanon. The Lebanese NGO Forum was closely linked to the ICVA Task Force on the Middle East and sent a delegation to Geneva to present its appeal to the UN Secretary-General. The Lebanese NGO Forum representatives presented to the Secretary-General a three-point proposal for meeting the immediate needs of the Lebanese people, to be initiated by the Secretary-General in cooperation with the Arab league and neutral countries. Finally the LNF drew attention to its unique role in the country, which enables it to guarantee that humanitarian assistance reaches all those in need.

¨ February 12-13-14, 1991: First Conference on urgent social needs in Lebanon, including displacement issues, Hotel Carlton.

¨ Since 1994: Projects on the return of the Displaced. The Lebanese NGO Forum was at the forefront of the debate over what constitutes an appropriate NGO profile in civil society. The Forum demonstrates interesting ways of operating and organizing coordination in complex emergencies where political consensus is as important as the simple delivery of aid. The LNF has participated in developmental projects in the mountains and villages that suffered from displacement.

¨ October 24 and November 28, 1996: Participation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on IDPs. Conference of the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs, Palais des Nations, Geneva.

1997-1998: Popular Legal Education Project. (hyperlinks, open window)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.
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May 1997 - July 1998

(Project implemented by the LNF with the financial support of the European Union)

I - Project Objectives

- disseminate and inform IDPs about laws regulating the displaced; - facilitate access of IDPs to administrative mechanisms and procedures;
- provide IDPs with administrative or judiciary ways against illegal, unfair and wrong administrative decisions.

II - Location

The population targeted by the project was located in the following villages:

1. The Harf region in the Chouf district

- Majdel Meouch
- Mazraat el Dahr
- Wadi el Sitt
- Bireh
- Kfarniss
- Mrayjat
- Jaayel
- Chourit

2. East of Saida

- Maamariyeh
- Maghdousheh
- Salhiyyeh
- Miyeh Miyeh
- Majdelyoun
- Ayn el Delb
- Lebaa
- Sarba
- Erke
- Ghaziyyeh
- Joun

3. The Waddaya region around Deir el Kamar

- Baakline (this village was included for practical reasons)
- Wadi Bnehlaye
- Bsaba
- Serjbal
- Benwati
- Wadi Deir
- Bkhechtine
- Jahliyyeh
- Ayn el Haour
- Borjayn

In addition to that and at the request of the displaced population that remained in urban areas, sessions were held outside the previously targeted locations. Thus, "Fanar" and "Bourj Hammoud" were included since both represent important resettlement regions for displaced persons originally from the villages targeted by this project.
Other regions followed, such as, the Upper-Metn (Hammana), Naameh (close to Damour) and Rechamayya (in the district of Aley).

The venues of the sessions were selected according to the availability held in clubs (cultural centers), religious buildings (churches, covenants…), public places (public schools, public libraries…)

III - The Participants

An average of 40 persons attended each session. A total number of 1000 participants benefited from this program.
The profile of the participants could be described as follows:
- 20% female participants
- 26% employees and public servants
- 16% independent
- 13% students
- 11% workers
- 9% teachers
- 7% officials (mayors, municipal counsellors, military personnel or members of the Internal Security Forces posted in the region where session was held)
- 6% retired citizens
- 2% religious persons
- 6% jobless
- 4% other

IV - Cases referred to Legal Aid

Legal aid was provided to 227 persons.

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