Lebanon is a country historically marked by internal conflict and a complicated relationship to its neighbors. The civil war ended in 1989, but the clashes remain and there is a fear that the war will flare up again. It is a violent society where journalists, activists and politicians have been murdered. The murder of Prime Minister Hariri in 2005 contributed to a political crisis that has stalled necessary social, economic and political reforms.
their basic human rights
Close to a tenth of the country’s more than four million inhabitants is constituted of Palestinian refugees. They live under extremely harsh conditions. Also refugees from Iraq and Syria are denied their fundamental human rights. The Arabic Spring, and above all the revolution in Syria, has on part of Lebanon, mostly had a negative effect and led to increasing political conflict and a decline in tourism; the country’s most important source of income.
Three main themes
Diakonia work with three main themes in Lebanon: democracy and human rights, women’s rights and socioeconomic rights for marginalized groups. The democracy and human rights work focuses on changing the country’s confessional governance which allocates political offices according to religious faith. For example Diakonia support the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections that work to change the existing electoral laws and election system and increase young people's participation in politics.
Work in all women's prisons
When it comes to women’s rights, Diakonia has a long track record of working to reduce the violence against women and strengthen their civil rights. Among other things, Diakonia and its partners with the support of EU, do advocacy work in all female prisons of Lebanon to add a gender perspective to penal law and also to prepare the women's reintegration in society.
Advocacy work has given results
Among other things, Diakonia's work with socioeconomic rights in Lebanon, aims at improving the situation for the Palestenian refugees and strengthen the rights of disabled people in society. Together with Palestinian organizations, Diakonia has supported a longterm advocacy work to change existing labor laws and give Palestinian refugees the right to work in Lebanon. In 2010 the law was changed so that unqualified workers are allowed to work and have social security.
Diakonia work with both Lebanese and Palestinian organizations for disabled people's rights. Our partner organization LPHU, Lebanese Physical Handicapped Union, has through long term advocacy work managed to change the law regarding disabled people's social rights, which now, among other things, give dem access to education, health service, work and public transportation.
Children from the El Buss refugee camp in southern Lebanon that hosts roughly 10,000 Palestinian refugees. Children and youth constitute about 50% of the camp’s population. This photo is the cover of a folder fron 2009 with in depth information about Diakonia's and partners' work in Lebanon.
Brochure about Diakonia's work in Lebanon (produced in 2009)
Responding to emergencies
in 2006 and 2007
After the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in July 2006 Diakonia together with its local partner organization Arcenciel provided shelter and social insertion for displaced.
The post-war economic and security situation created an instable political environment, especially for the Lebanese youth. A one-year project began to empower young men and women and raise awareness regarding their rights and responsibilities, within different communities.
In May 2007 yet another crisis hit Lebanon. This time the focus was on the Palestinian refugees living in the Nahr al-Bared camp. The over one month long conflict between the Fatah Al-Islam faction and the Lebanese army has caused death to more than 170 people. More than 30,000 Palestinians were forced to leave all their belongings and flee to the already overpopulated Beddawi camp. A humanitarian crisis was arising by the hour. Together with the Community Based Rehabilitation Association, Diakonia responded to the increasing urgency by providing the refugees with clothes, bed covers, pillows, towels and small stoves for cooking and water heating to accommodate the most vulnerable 3,200 families.
Anwar Awad in Beirut has an amputated leg. Despite this he is working to sustain himself in a ceramic workshop that was established in 1997 by Diakonia's partner organization Arcenciel. In 2009 Arcenciel provided work opportunities for approximately 190 persons with disabilities in different workshops.
Community Based Rehabilitation Association, provided refugees with clothes, bed covers, pillows, towels and small gas stoves for cooking and water heating to accommodate the most vulnerable 3,200 families from Nahr al-Bared camp.