Press Release October 28, 2003

Washington,  New York.



New York, N.Y. – Last week, representatives of several American Lebanese Organizations, led by the World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU), Lebanese Information Center (LIC), and the American Maronite Union (AMU), met with the heads of the delegations of the United States, Mexico, The European Union, and Algerian Missions to the United Nations. The meetings focused on the restoration of a sovereign, politically independent, democratic Lebanon, and the end of human rights abuses currently taking place there. The representatives also submitted memorandums regarding these issues to the Ambassadors of both the Arab League and Saudi Arabian Mission.

The primary concern of the representatives was the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. The necessity of pursuing the enforcement of the Taif Accord and United Nations Security Council Resolution 520 was discussed. Syria has maintained a military presence in Lebanon since 1976, and despite a partial withdrawal, there are still over 20,000 Syrian troops and security personnel currently occupying Lebanon. With Syria’s complete withdrawal, Lebanon would be able to freely deploy the Lebanese Armed Forces to all areas deemed necessary. Most Missions recognized the control of the Lebanese government by Syria, and expressed a strong support for the territorial integrity and democracy of Lebanon.

The representatives expressed their support for the United States’ policy towards terrorism and raised concerns about the Syrian sponsored terrorist organizations such as the Hizbullah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, operating in Lebanon.

The visited UN Missions were disturbed over the detoriating human rights and civil liberties in Lebanon. The representatives introduced reports detailing horrific persecutions, illegal arbitrary arrests and detentions without charges or trials, and tortures of detainees in Syrian jails. The representatives pointed out the oppressions by the Syrian-appointed-Lebanese-government of freedom of speech and expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and interference in the election process. All these atrocities are in direct violation of the Lebanese Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which Lebanon is a signatory.

The majority of the UN Missions recognized the necessity of pressuring Syria to end its terrorist sponsored activities and occupation of Lebanon. They emphasized the importance for all Lebanese, regardless of religious affiliations, social or economic status, to unite and work together towards the restoration of Lebanon’s dignity.