The Lebanese Republic has a population of 6.8 million people,1https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?locations=LB. Lebanon is host to a large refugee population including 1.5 million Syrians, and 200,000 Palestinians.2https://reliefweb.int/report/lebanon/unhcr-lebanon-factsheet-january-2020#:~:text=More%20than%20eight%20years%20into,are%20present%20in%20the%20country. The country’s history has been marked by sectarian tensions between its numerous and diverse ethnic and religious groups which came to a head in the Lebanese civil war (1975 to 1990). Estimates of the religious breakdown of the Lebanese population, excluding the refugee population, includes a 57.7% Muslim majority (28.7% Sunni and 28.4% Shia), 36.2% Christians, 5.2% Druzes and small numbers of Baha’is, Jews, Ismailis, Alawites and others.3https://www.justice.gov/eoir/page/file/1277696/download The country is vulnerable to extremist attacks and spill-over from the Syrian conflict, as well as suffering from a recent economic crisis,4https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/the-lights-go-out-on-lebanons-economy-as-financial-collapse-accelerates/2020/07/19/3acfc33e-bb97-11ea-97c1-6cf116ffe26c_story.html and an explosion in Beirut that prompted the government’s resignation in August 2020.5https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/10/world/middleeast/lebanon-government-resigns-beirut.html
Lebanon is a member of the League of Arab States (LAS), as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
|Constitution and government||Education and children’s rights||Family, community, society, religious courts and tribunals||Freedom of expression advocacy of humanist values|
The non-religious are barred from some government offices (including posts reserved for particular religions or sects)
Countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Croatia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Countries: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Congo, Republic of the, Djibouti, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Honduras, Iceland, India, Japan, Korea, Republic of, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, United States of America, Uruguay
Countries: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Congo, Republic of the, Dominica, Ecuador, Estonia, France, Ghana, Guatemala, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Republic of, Kosovo, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sweden, Taiwan, Uruguay, Venezuela
Countries: Austria, Bhutan, Congo, Democratic Republic of, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Lithuania, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, South Africa, South Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam
Countries: no countries relate to this boundary condition
Countries: no countries relate to this boundary condition
This condition is unusual in that it is applied in cases where there is some social discrimination, but it is not pervasive or nationwide. This condition is applied when there is sufficient background evidence to warrant the assertion that discrimination is not anomalous but widespread, and this condition may be applied for example even where if there is no legislative discrimination or where the non-religious may have legal recourse against such discrimination. However, societal discrimination (i.e. discrimination by peers, as opposed to state or legal discrimination) is not easily measured, and for this reason the Report does not currently have similar more severe boundary conditions to capture higher levels of social discrimination per se. In principle these may be introduced in future. However, we consider that countries with actual higher levels of social discrimination against the non-religious will generally already meet other higher level (more severe) boundary conditions under this thematic strand.
Applied when overriding acts of oppression by the State are extreme, to the extent that the question of freedom of thought and expression is almost redundant, because all human rights and freedoms are quashed by authorities.
Countries: North Korea
Countries: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malta, Moldova, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Countries: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Egypt, Eritrea, Fiji, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kosovo, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Switzerland, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Countries: Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Italy, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, New Zealand, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Venezuela
Countries: Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Guinea, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Countries: Armenia, Benin, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Republic of the, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Turkey, Uganda
Countries: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, Republic of, Kosovo, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, Vanuatu
This condition is applied where there are miscellaneous indicators that organs of the state offer various forms of support for a religion, or to religion in general over non-religious worldviews, suggesting a preference for those beliefs, or that the organs of that religion are privileged.
Countries: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belize, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Montenegro, Mozambique, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zimbabwe
Countries: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, Germany, Guatemala, Guyana, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kiribati, Korea, Republic of, Laos, Latvia, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vanuatu, Zimbabwe
This condition highlights countries where schools subject children to fundamentalist religious instruction with no real opportunity to question fundamentalist tenets, or where lessons routinely encourage hatred (for example religious or ethnic hatred). The wording “significant number of schools” is not given a rigid quantification (sometimes the worst-offending schools are unregistered, illegal, or otherwise uncounted); however the condition is not applied in cases where only a small number of schools meet the description and may be anomalous, as opposed to being indicative of a widespread problem.
Countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gambia, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, Oman, Palestine, Paraguay, Qatar, Russia, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Countries: Angola, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Congo, Republic of the, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, North Korea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia, Singapore, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia
Countries: Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Finland, Georgia, Haiti, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Monaco, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Tunisia, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, Yemen, Zambia
Countries: Argentina, Armenia, Belize, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, China, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Guinea, Haiti, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Samoa, Swaziland, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia
Countries: Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kiribati, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Moldova, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Tonga, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Countries: Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Cyprus, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Grenada, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Countries: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Denmark, Eritrea, Germany, Haiti, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Kingdom
Countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Gambia, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Macedonia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
This condition may apply if specifically religious education, religious materials, or specific religious denominations are so tightly controlled that children are in fact over-protected from exposure to religion and are likely unable to explore or construct their own worldview in accordance with their evolving capacities. This condition helps us to classify states (perhaps with secular constitutions) which have criminalized specifically religious beliefs or practices. This condition is not applied if the restricted beliefs or practices are found to be outlawed due to their being of an extremist variety. While this condition does not directly reflect discrimination against non-religious persons or non-religious ideas, it does represent an overall threat to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief; such restrictions could spill over to affect non-religious beliefs later; and they pose a risk of backlash against over-zealous secular authorities or even against non-religious individuals by association.
Countries: Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bhutan, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Korea, Republic of, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Montenegro, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe
The Constitution6https://www.wipo.int/edocs/lexdocs/laws/en/lb/lb018en.pdf and other laws and policies guarantee freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of expression. However, these laws are not always respected in practice. Furthermore, the entire system of government is based on sectarian quotas, which in practice encourages religious discrimination and discourages leaving one’s familial assigned religion. Most non-religious people in practice must conform to a religious identity.
The Constitution requires the state to respect all religious groups and denominations, and declares equality of rights and duties for all citizens without discrimination. The Constitution stipulates that there be a balance of power among the major religious groups and provides that Christians and Muslims be represented equally in parliament, the cabinet, and high-level civil service positions. It also provides that these posts be distributed proportionally among all the recognized religious groups, in an attempt to prevent a single group from gaining a dominant position. The 1943 “National Pact” stipulates that the president, prime minister, and speaker of parliament be Maronite Christian, Sunni Muslim, and Shia Muslim, respectively.7https://www.britannica.com/event/Lebanese-National-Pact-1943 The 1989 Taif Agreement,8https://www.un.int/lebanon/sites/www.un.int/files/Lebanon/the_taif_agreement_english_version_.pdf which ended the country’s 15-year civil war, reaffirms this arrangement while mandating equal Muslim and Christian representation in parliament and reducing the power of the Maronite Christian presidency. In addition, most senior government officials are appointed according to religious affiliation. There are no reserved seats for non-believers, thus if citizens decide to remove their religion from their official documents, they consequently limit their ability to hold government positions. Although not required by law, religion is generally encoded on national identity cards and noted on “ikhraaj qaid” (official registry) documents. Citizens have the right to remove their religion or change the religion on their identity cards and official registry documents. The government does not require religious affiliation on passports. However, religious group identity remains very important on the societal and cultural level.9https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/LEBANON-2019-INTERNATIONAL-RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM-REPORT.pdf
There are 18 officially recognized religious groups, including Ismailis, Alawites, Druzes and Jews. The government does not officially recognize some religious groups such as Baha’is, Buddhists, Hindus, and unregistered Protestant groups. Members of these groups cannot hold certain government positions, but they are permitted to perform their religious rites freely. Official recognition of a religious group provides government recognition to rites performed, such as marriages; such recognition conveys additional benefits, such as tax-exempt status and the right to apply the religious group’s codes to matters of personal status, such as marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance.10https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/LEBANON-2019-INTERNATIONAL-RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM-REPORT.pdf
An individual is allowed to change religion if the change is approved by the head of the religious group the person wishes to join. The government permits the publication of religious materials of every religious group in different languages and there are no legal prohibitions to proselytizing.
By law, the authorities endorse the appointment of Sunni and Shia muftis and the Druze Sheikh al-Aql and pay their salaries, however, the government does not pay the salaries of Christian officials.11https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/LEBANON-2019-INTERNATIONAL-RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM-REPORT.pdf
In March 2014, former President Michael Suleiman appeared to evaluate atheism on a par with war and fundamentalism, in a speech during the election campaign. He said: “Peace will defeat war. Faith will defeat fundamentalism and atheism.”12ginosblog.com/2014/04/01/lebanese-president-equates-atheists-to-terrorists/
Lebanon remains under threat of terrorist attacks and sectarian violence. Extremist groups, including ISIL and al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility for several car bombings and suicide bomb attacks mainly in the Shia suburbs of Beirut. The balance of religious denominations has been changed a lot by the increasing number of (mainly Sunni Muslim) Syrian and Palestinian refugees. In October 2014 a conflict between Alawites and Sunni broke out. Shiite Hizballah’s participation in Syria has further inflamed sectarian tensions. In Ramadan 2014, Islamists attacked with grenades the few restaurants and cafes in Tripoli that remained open during the fasting hours. November 2015 saw a double suicide bombing in Beirut, killing 43 and wounding 239, the attack was claimed by ISIL and intended to kill Shia Muslims.13https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/12/beirut-bombings-kill-at-least-20-lebanon While terrorist attacks have decreased in frequency, sectarian tensions have increased. In the case of Tripoli, Sunni and Alawite communities have experienced high tensions and violence.14https://www.justice.gov/eoir/page/file/1277696/download Anti-Semitic rhetoric remains present in the Lebanese media. However, religious and political leaders continue to support peaceful coexistence and oppose violent extremism.
Following the previous government’s resignation in August 2020 and widespread public protests, President Michel Aoun has called for secularisation of the Lebanese State as “Lebanon’s youth are calling for change”.15https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200901-lebanon-should-be-a-secular-state-says-president/
The government permits, but does not require religious education in public schools. However, in practice, many schools offer compulsory religious education, with no secular or humanist alternative. According to the Constitution, recognized religious communities may operate their own private schools, provided they follow the general rules issued for public schools, which stipulate that schools must not incite sectarian discord or threaten national security. In public schools, religious authorities from the local community go to the schools to organise and teach religious education.16https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/LEBANON-2019-INTERNATIONAL-RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM-REPORT.pdf
Likewise, there are similar reports of children being banned from and forced to wear religious symbols.17english.al-akhbar.com/content/lebanons-education-system-training-children-civil-strife
Until 2013 there were no procedures for civil marriage. However in early 2013 the ratification of a civil marriage between Kholoud Sukkarieh and Nidal Darwish represented a step toward secularizing family law.18https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/04/20134309242619227.html The government recognizes civil marriage ceremonies performed abroad irrespective of the religious affiliation of each partner in the marriage.19https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/LEBANON-2019-INTERNATIONAL-RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM-REPORT.pdf
In most cases the government permits recognized religious groups to administer their own family and personal status laws, such as marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance. Unrecognized groups may own property and assemble for worship without government interference; however, they may not perform legally recognized marriage or divorce proceedings, and they have no standing to determine inheritance issues.
Shia, Sunni, recognized Christian and Druze groups have sate-appointed, government-subsidized clerical courts to administer family and personal status law. While the religious courts and religious laws are legally bound to comply with the Constitution, the Court of Cassation has very limited oversight of religious court proceedings and decisions.20https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/LEBANON-2019-INTERNATIONAL-RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM-REPORT.pdf
Lebanese women are notably denied nationality rights, unable to pass on their nationality to their children (with the possibility of leaving their children stateless), while Lebanese men are given those rights. Anti-government protests against this discrimination continue in 2020.21https://thearabweekly.com/lebanese-women-press-equal-personal-status-rights-international-womens-day
A review of personal status laws by the Human Rights Watch found “ a clear pattern of women from all sects being treated worse than men”, especially in cases of custody and divorce. Women were found to face significantly more obstacles in law and but also court procedures in various forms.22https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/01/19/unequal-and-unprotected/womens-rights-under-lebanese-personal-status-laws
Though in 2014 the Parliament passed new laws to protect women from domestic violence, many remain vulnerable as marital rape has yet to be decriminalized and sect-specific courts continue to have jurisdiction.
Historically, those suspected of homosexual activity would be convicted of “sexual intercourse contrary to the order of nature” according to article 534 of the penal code and would be sentenced to up to one year in prison. Over the past decade Lebanese judges have ruled that homosexuality is not against the “order of nature”, and is natural. In 2014, Judge Rabih Maalouf cited Article 183, stating that “An act undertaken in exercise of a right without abuse shall not be regarded as an offence,”23https://www.equaldex.com/region/lebanon in contradiction with article 534. Yet, no law has actually passed to protect members of the LGBTQ+ or decriminalise homosexuality.24https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/01/29/lebanon-is-getting-closer-to-decriminalising-homosexuality/
Same sex marriage in Lebanon is still not legal (though foreign same sex marriages are recognised) and conversion therapy has yet to be banned. Legal gender change, single parent adoption, serving in the military and blood donations are however legal for LGBTQ+ individuals.25https://www.equaldex.com/region/lebanon
Progress is also very inconsistent. A gender and sexuality conference annually held since 2013, after a failed attempt to shut it down in 2018, was forced to take place outside of Lebanon in 2019 in name of protecting “public morality”.26https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/06/08/pride-month-shame-you-exposing-anti-lgbt-government-strategies-mena
While Beirut is relatively tolerant, other cities in Lebanon are less so. With the chemical blast devastating Beirut in 2020, many of Lebanese LGBTQ+ community who built lives there reported having lost much of their popular ‘safe spaces’.27https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/beirut-s-gay-community-chemical-blast-shattered-safe-space-n1239076
The Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and Lebanon has a long tradition of press freedom. However, there are significant limitations to freedom of expression as it intersects with freedom of religion or belief: by law, the government is permitted to censor religious publications if it deems such material incites sectarian discord or threatens national security, additionally, criticism of religious leaders, the president or the army can carry a prison sentence.
Films and other art pieces are regularly censored if they contain any contentious material – for instance, a film making a passing reference to Lebanon’s assassinated president, or a piece of graffiti caricaturing the King of Saudi Arabia.28
In 2020, following a reported escalation in the repression of protest and free expression, 14 Lebanese and international organizations formed a “Coalition to Defend Freedom of Expression in Lebanon”.28https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/07/13/lebanon-new-coalition-defend-free-speech Among the laws used to repress dissent is criminal defamation.
Due to these cultural and institutional limitations, the non-religious have found freedom of expression with like-minded individuals on social media platforms, such as closed Facebook groups.29https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-middle-east-48729203
Articles 473-474 of the Penal Code30https://perma.cc/UP8Z-ZMH4 (in Arabic) criminalize blasphemy and contempt of religion, offences punishable with up to one and three years in prison respectively.31https://www.loc.gov/law/help/blasphemy/index.php#Lebanon
In July 2019, Lebanese Byblos music festival was forced to cancel a planned performance of the band Mashrou’ Leila’s “in order to prevent bloodshed and to maintain security and stability” backlash from Christian fundamentalist groups. Reports vary regarding the precise cause of discontent. Some reports state that objections related to two songs in particular, which they alleged were blasphemous, while others indicate that the they related to a four-year-old post on Facebook of a controversial image that transposed the face of pop diva Madonna onto an image of the Virgin Mary, which they alleged insulted Christian beliefs.32https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/7/30/lebanon-cancels-mashrou-leila-concert-to-prevent-bloodshed; https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/LEBANON-2019-INTERNATIONAL-RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM-REPORT.pdf
In April 2019, the authorities banned a Brazilian metal band, Sepultura, from entering the country after its members were accused of being “devil worshippers,” according to concert organizers. 33https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/LEBANON-2019-INTERNATIONAL-RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM-REPORT.pdf
The year 2017, saw a spate of censorship of films that touched on religious themes or were deemed critical of religion.34https://freemuse.org/news/lebanon-film-censored-religious-criticism/; https://freemuse.org/news/lebanon-two-movies-banned-film-festival/; https://freemuse.org/news/lebanon-religious-believer-blacked-film/
In November 2017, a Lebanese poet, Mustafa Sbeity, was arrested for “insulting” the Virgin Mary in a Facebook post and detained for 16 days.35https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/01/31/lebanon-pattern-prosecutions-free-speech
“I am an agnostic atheist and I did come out proudly as one in Lebanon. As expected, I was cyber bullied for it but it didn’t stop me from voicing my opinion on religion and its impact on society and especially on gender issues. I mostly hang out with fellow atheists now but before that, I lost friends because of my views. I tend to keep my religious views to myself at work because it could affect my relationship with colleagues and it is not worth it.”
|↑9, ↑10, ↑11, ↑16, ↑19, ↑20, ↑33||https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/LEBANON-2019-INTERNATIONAL-RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM-REPORT.pdf|
|↑30||https://perma.cc/UP8Z-ZMH4 (in Arabic)|
|↑34||https://freemuse.org/news/lebanon-film-censored-religious-criticism/; https://freemuse.org/news/lebanon-two-movies-banned-film-festival/; https://freemuse.org/news/lebanon-religious-believer-blacked-film/|