RELEASE FROM SOLIDE
Support of Lebanese in Detention and Exile
The Lebanese population of the ex-security zone:
Scapegoats in a regional and international conflict.
All the news and reports that we have received for the last days, following the hastily and disorderly withdrawal of the Israeli forces and the SLA from the security zone in south Lebanon indicate the following:
Hezbollah fighters, Amal militia and four other militias rushed in to fill the void left by the departing Israelis and Lebanese.
Official Lebanese reports indicate that 1545 SLA members surrendered en masse to Hezbollah, Amal and the Lebanese army.
7000 SLA members and their families sought asylum in Israel. The Lebanese refugees were given refuge in a tent camp on the sea of Galilee.
Incidents of looting and confiscations of private property including cars, cash money, personal belongings etc. were reported on a large scale mainly in the Christian villages of the southern enclave.
Some reports revealed that armed militants kidnapped two men from the town of Qolaia, Akl Moussa and Merhi Khoury, and executed them. Two other men from the town of Ain Ebel, Nicholas Haddad and Attalah al-Hasrouni, were kidnapped. The whereabouts were not revealed.
The Lebanese government stated that acting in accordance with the Treaty of Fraternity, Coordination and Cooperation with Syria it will not send the Lebanese army to the south out of the criteria that the Lebanese army will not serve the security of Israel.
The Lebanese police force present in the region was helpless in preventing all the violations that took and are taking place by the reigning militias.
The militias in south Lebanon are acting with the tacit acceptance of the Lebanese government.
The Israeli government bears a great responsibility for the state of chaos and its subsequent human tragedies that befell on the population in the ex-security zone. Israel was responsible for the security of the population in that area and its unjustifiable hastily withdrawal was not completed according to international norms. The pullout was supposed to be coordinated with the United Nations which plans to expand its peacekeeping force UNIFIL in order to ensure the safety of the population.
Given the following:
-The circumstances of the conflict in south Lebanon
-The Lebanese governments position with regard to the SLA (official Lebanon regards them as traitors)
-The Lebanese official reluctance to send the regular army to the south
-The control of the militias on the ex-security zone.
SOLIDE has mounting concerns for the safety and well-being of the communities in south Lebanon, especially the Christian community who formed the base of southern Lebanon public support for the SLA militia. The humanitarian law is legally binding in this situation and the internationally acclaimed legal standards asserts the following:
-The SLA militiamen who surrendered themselves to the militias and the intelligence service of the Lebanese army are considered prisoners of conscience, since they should not be brought to trial in connection with the conflict. The people who committed recognizable crimes are the only ones who should be brought to trial which fully confirm to international fair trial standards.
-The Lebanese government must provide a detailed list of the names, whereabouts, allow access to the ICRC and eventually ensure their release.
-The Lebanese who sought refuge in Israel are a case of enforced exile and political oppression since they were forced to leave based on their political beliefs and in violation to their right of being different from Hezbollah and the other militias. Enforced exile or voluntary exile is common practice and thousands of Lebanese live outside Lebanon because they oppose the declared pro-Syrian policy of the Lebanese government.
-Put into effect the recommendation made by Amnesty International which states that: any extension of UNIFILs mandate should include a human rights monitoring unit; in addition UNIFIL should be given the resources to ensure that this mandate is carried out effectively . It is the United Nations responsibility to ensure that the population in south Lebanon, and especially the families who are living without any support, maintain their basic human rights.
Taking these facts into serious consideration, SOLIDE calls on the United Nations and international human rights organizations, to act immediately and urge the Lebanese government to assume its responsibilities in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law, and to ensure that the basic human rights of all people living under its jurisdiction are well protected especially life, liberty and security.
Support of Lebanese in Detention and Exile