Montreal, Canada - May 31, 2004

May 2004 - Vol. 10

RCPL May 2004 Newsletter includes the following items:

Special coverage of the Canadian federal election 
6 killed and over 50 injured in Beirut riots
3. Political activist murdered
4. Security situation unstable

1. Special coverage of the Canadian federal election

As part of the June 28 Federal election, RCPL has requested that every major political party provide their official foreign policy towards Lebanon. The request includes the parties official position statement, how they would help Lebanon to have a better human rights record, and how they would in strengthening civil society. Most parties are preparing their position, and only one has answered. RCPL will communicate all the official positions through e-mail alerts and on our web site. We will also stimulate a debate within the Lebanese-Canadian community on this topic. The answer we obtained is from the Conservative Party, and is as follows:

« We believe the people of Lebanon have the right to a freely-elected democratic government »

« Syria should submit to the UN Resolution which requires it to cease its occupation of Lebanese territories »

« The Syrian-backed group Hizbullah, which is a terrorist organization banned in Canada and most of the western-world, should entirely withdraw from all Lebanese territories »

2. 6 killed and over 50 injured in Beirut riots

In the last week of May, Beirut witnessed almost daily riots following a general strike by labour organizations for the rising price of petrol. The riots results between demonstrators and the army personnel units, resulting in 6 deaths and over 50 injured. Canada should request that Lebanese authorities conduct an independent inquiry into the riots to determine if army personnel units fired live ammunition at peaceful demonstrators.

3. Political activist murdered

On May 1, a political youth activist from a banned political party called the Lebanese Forces, which was once a war time militia, was found dead in a car trunk. The victim, Pierre Boulos, was found decomposing in the car trunk. This event resembles the Ayrani kidnapping of last, also a youth political activist with the Lebanese Forces. Canada should request that Lebanese authorities conduct an independent investigation into the kidnapping and murder of opposition political activist. 

4. Security situation unstable

May was once again the scene of skirmishes between Israeli soldiers and Hizbullah activist. The failure of the Lebanese authorities to extend their jurisdictional authority over Southern Lebanon and more precisely the Israeli border, makes the situation unstable for citizens on both sides of the border. Canada should request that Lebanon maintains security in the area, and ensures any skirmishes by Israeli soldiers or Hizbullah members are prevented.

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