“International Human Rights Day” And the “International Anti-Corruption Day”
Mr. Robert Watkins
UNDP Resident Representative
“International Human Rights Day”
“International Anti-Corruption Day”
Excellency Mr. Nabih Berri, President of the Chamber of Deputies represented by HE MP Michel Moussa Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights
Excellences Members of the Lebanese Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be with you on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day. This date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly's adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global proclamation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations 65 years ago.
Here in Lebanon, the Lebanese Parliament and the UN family have been celebrating this day together for the past three years.
This is a day in which we take stock of the progress we are making in our efforts to promote, develop and protect human rights in Lebanon.
As you know, the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights launched the National Action Plan for Human Rights a year ago in this Chamber. A printed book of The National Human Rights Action Plan (2014-2019) in Arabic is disseminated today and an English copy will be disseminated next month. This product is a result of a very successful collaboration between the Lebanese Parliament, UNDP and OHCHR.
However, it is more important to continue this collaboration for the implementation of this national plan. In this regard, UNDP, OHCHR and other UN agencies will be ready to provide the technical support for the development, coordination and actual implementation of activities in fulfillment of this national plan.
Needless to say, the implementation of such a comprehensive national plan requires the concerted efforts of all concerned parties and thus this UN collaboration will not be limited to the Lebanese Parliament, but will be extended to the Lebanese government and to Lebanese Civil Society Organizations, especially Human Rights Organizations, in order to provide a more effective support and ensure the active and inclusive participation of all parties.
The UNDP project at the Lebanese Parliament, in collaboration with parliamentary committees, was able to develop a gender legal review this year and it is going to be presented and discussed in this meeting. Other studies on youth participation and youth employment opportunities were also developed and discussed in the relevant parliamentary committees. All of these studies are related to the National Action Plan on Human Rights, especially women and youth rights.
In the coming years, with the technical support of OHCHR, UNDP intends to continue producing legal reviews with a set of recommendations for legal amendments on other important areas, but it is also more essential to develop the implementation plan with the participation of all parties.
We are celebrating Human Rights Day this year while Lebanon and the region are passing through very difficult times. The social and economic impact of the Syrian crisis has created a tremendous challenge to Lebanon and I would like to commend the Lebanese government and the Lebanese people for their resilience and for their respect of humanitarian laws. The UN will stand beside Lebanon to help alleviate the burden and meet the challenges posed by the crisis.
We are also celebrating this year International Anti-corruption Day on 9 December.
In this area, I would like to acknowledge and applaud Lebanon for joining the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2009. Furthermore, both the government and the parliament expressed commitment for the implementation of this convention through setting up an inter-ministerial committee for the assessment report and through developing a draft strategy to combat corruption. Actually, a meeting was held last week in this parliament in support of the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in Lebanon under the patronage of His Excellency Prtesident Berri.
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the important progress that was made on seven key draft anti-corruption laws that are currently pending in Parliament and require close follow up. There is draft legislation dealing with:
1. The right to access to information;
2. The National Anti-Corruption Agency
3. Whistle-blower protection;
4. Illicit wealth;
5. Central Inspection;
6. Audit Bureau; and
7. Public procurement.
The UNDP project at parliament was able to produce three important sectoral anti-corruption studies on Water, Education and Health. These studies will be presented, discussed and disseminated in this meeting as well.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank President Berri for a very fruitful cooperation with UNDP and the UN and thank all Members of Parliament who are always collaborating effectively with us. I would also like also to assure you that UNDP and the UN will continue to provide its support to the Lebanese Parliament for parliamentary development, good governance and sustainable human development