The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization based in Beirut.
CLDH was created in 2006 by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily), which had been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture, and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human rights violations.
CLDH’s complementary components include advocacy, public mobilization, rehabilitation for victims of torture and families of enforced disappearances, and the provision of pro-bono legal services for vulnerable groups.
Amid several qns about Enforced Disappearances in 1993, human rights uestioactivists, Wadih Al- Asmar and Marie Daunay, who were located in France, reached out to several organizations in Lebanon in order to examine the depth of advocacy towards combating Enforced Disappearances and to follow up on research and documentation for the purpose of lobbying in order to find forcibly disappeared individuals and reunite families after the civil war in Lebanon.
The team figured that several committees were already thriving for this cause, such as: Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture, Committee of the Families of Kidnapped and the Disappeared in Lebanon, SOLIDE (support of Lebanese in detention and exile) and the committe of parents of lebanese detained in Syria. The group by then decided to further develop research on prosecution, enforced disappearances, and torture in order to further expand the advocacy network towards abolishing gross human rights violations.
Several arrests occurred in Lebanon and the group was simultaneously documenting cases of enforced disappearances and torture, for the purpose of launching a report later on. The group by then was mainly advocating and creating networks with the international community and lobbying for the pursuit of forcibly disappeared persons.
FOUNDATION OF SOLIDA
The group founded “SOLIDA”, an organization that works on documenting and conducting reports around enforced disappearances and torture. In the same year, “SOLIDA” published its very first report on torture which proved torture allegations at the ministry of defense right; it included illustrations on torture methods in Lebanese detention places and allowed further visibility the role of SOLIDA in denouncing such demeaning practices.
SOLIDA took families of the forcibly disappeared to Europe, where the presence of forcibly disappeared persons in Syria was confirmed for the very first time. In March 1998, 121 people were released out of Syrian prisons due to International pressure and consistent advocacy.
Between 1997 and 2005, SOLIDA was working on several files and reports around detentions, enforced disappearances, death penalties, humanitarian, and legal concerns in Lebanon. The reports highlighted human rights’ violations regardless of any political affiliations or contexts.
After the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon, SOLIDA team decided to move to Lebanon and to estabilish the Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH).
BIRTH OF “NASSIM”
REHABILITATION PROGRAM & CLDH
Between 1997 and 2007, and after releasing a large number of forcibly disappeared persons from Syria, many of them were victims of torture and reached out to SOLIDA for social support, taking into consideration the organization’s history in supporting and advocating for victims of enforced disappearances and torture.
In 2000 and after the release of almost 50 new persons who were victims of enforced disappearances in Syria, SOLIDA’s team visited Lebanon in order to have direct calls with victims. This called for an inspiration to initiate a rehabilitation center for victims of torture. The organization started a rehabilitation center’s concept note in 2002, in order to provide social and psychological support for victims of torture. In 2007, the center was launched under the name “Nassim” and SOLIDA’s name was changed to “The Lebanese Center for Human Rights”.
LEGAL AID PROGRAM
CLDH launched its legal program in order to provide legal representation to vulnerable inmates. Progressively, the number of persons in prisons assisted by the organization every year has increased from a few dozen per year at the beginning of the project to 669 in 2019 (some of which are ongoing and proceeding).
Overall, the legal team today includes 11 lawyers
and provides legal assistance in 23 prisons and detention centers all over the country including GSO and the military court.
Ever since then, CLDH has been launching advocacy campaigns,
conducting reports around torture and other human rights violations,
and providing rehabilitation services for victims of torture and legal aid for vulnerable groups.
CLDH advocates for the enforcement of human rights for all, denounces human rights violations, and fights impunity by providing legal and rehabilitation services.
We envision a country free from human rights violations and discrimination.
Fight against all human rights violations; monitor, protect, and rehabilitate victims of torture and families of victims of enforced disappearances.