What follows is an oral intervention on Lebanon delivered by Jonny D’Rozario to the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
The Next Century Foundation is concerned by the discontent being expressed with the current political system in the Lebanese Republic. The Lebanese have a right to self-determination of government as outlined in the Vienna Declaration on Human Rights.
Most citizens of the Lebanese Republic believe comprehensive reform is necessary to alleviate the crises that have been created by the current political system.
We stress the urgent need to implement a system of bicameral governance as outlined in the Taif Agreement of 1989 which includes:
- An elected confessional upper house using current electoral guidelines
- A lower house elected on a non-confessional basis using a single national constituency, following the electoral principles of proportional representation.
The Lower House should retain complete control over legislation, with the Upper House confined to initiating legislation on crucial issues, and exercising a casting vote on exceptional occasions such as where deadlock exists in the judiciary or Lower House. It is essential the upper house contains representation from each of the 19 constitutionally recognised confessions, and endeavours to proportionately represent each confession as best possible.
We further call for the removal of the requirement that executive positions of governance be held by specific confessional groups, recognising the historic purpose of this arrangement has expired.
It is also imperative that progress towards establishing an independent and transparent judiciary occurs as a vital step in strengthening political and financial accountability. Implementing these changes immediately is critical for progress in the Lebanese Republic.