Both pre-trial and pre-return detention of children takes place in Lebanon. On average the time children spend in detention exceeds one month. There are some practices that provide support for migrant children living in the community which could be expanded, but immigration detention is a separate system.
Date of publication: August 12, 2018
Data collected on: January 31, 2018
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Lebanon has ratified four of the six Conventions and Protocols that assist in the protection of children in the context of migration.
The Government of Lebanon is strongly encouraged to ratify the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (the 1951 Convention) and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
There is no law in Lebanon to prevent the immigration detention of children.
The Government of Lebanon is strongly encouraged to implement a law in alignment with international standards that prohibits the detention of all children and their families.
Lebanon has very few policies or practices in place which are sensitive to the needs of migrant children, those that do exist are often exempt from the immigration detention system, such as guardianship. Some positive practices exist for those facing criminal charges, but they are not available for those who are administratively detained.
The Government of Lebanon is strongly encouraged to urgently develop and implement child-centred policies and practices, especially for unaccompanied children.
There are some placement options for unaccompanied children and families – but they are run by Non-Government Organisations, and they are not utilised by the government in a systematic way. The majority of families are detained, sometimes in separate locations.
The Government of Lebanon is strongly encouraged to urgently develop policies and practices that uphold the liberty of children and their families. The government should utilise existing practices of alternatives to detention in a robust and systematic fashion.
Very little social assistance and housing is provided for migrant children and their families. Education is extended to all Lebanese citizen children, and while this is provided for some migrant children it is discriminatory in nature.
The Government of Lebanon must uphold the rights of migrant children to indiscriminate access to education, housing, social assistance and health care. Additionally, the Government of Lebanon is strongly encouraged to introduce firewall legislation to ensure social welfare services are not impeded by migration control activities.
Immigration detention decisions are made by immigration police, and no judicial review of the decision takes place. Lebanon does not have any monitoring or reporting of immigration detention by independent bodies, nor are immigration detention statistics regularly published.
The Government of Lebanon is strongly encouraged to improve its statistics by including disaggregated data about immigration detention, coupled with developing the National Preventive Mechanisms for Detention Monitoring.
It is estimated that around 300 children are detained in Lebanon each year. Those in pre-trial detention can be held for periods of up to one year, with sub-standard living conditions and children being detained with unrelated adults. The government reports on statistics for these cases. Children are also held in administrative detention before returns and there is little transparency about these cases.
The Government of Lebanon is strongly encouraged to abolish the detention of children, in law and in practice, in both the pre-trials and returns context. The government needs to take significant and immediate action to reduce numbers of children detained for extended periods of time and to commit to transparency by providing statics on the number of children in administrative detention.
The CRC is integrated into national domestic law, but application in relation to immigration detention of children is not applied or routinely reported on. Little political will for change exists to protect the rights of migrant children.
The Government of Lebanon needs to urgently commit to upholding the rights of children in order to comply with international law obligations and standards.
This scorecard has been assessed by the Lebanon NextGen Index Committee:
- Insan Association