Montreal, Canada - April 30, 2005

April 2005 - Vol. 20

RCPL April 2005 Newsletter includes the following items:

1.
RCPL annual meeting with DFAIT officials
2. Workshop: « The Forgotten Lebanese: 30 Years in Syrian Prisons »
3. Hunger strike for the release of Lebanese prisoners in Syrian prisons
4.
Bombs target civilian districts in Lebanon
5. Syria withdraws from Lebanon
6. RCPL annual report
7. Internship opportunity at ODRI


1. RCPL annual meeting with DFAIT officials

On April 1, RCPL members sat down with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). After painting an alarming picture of the state of human rights and democracy in Lebanon, the RCPL team presented four points requiring urgent attention:

- International observers for Lebanon's upcoming elections
- Lebanese detainees in Syria
- Judicial reform
- The situation in Lebanon

RCPL also discussed the results of its delegation's trip to Lebanon on March 2005. During that trip, the RCPL delegation met with 12 Lebanese NGOs to discuss the recommendations released by Canadian and Lebanese experts on September 2004. The trip was the final phase of the project " Learning from Canada's diversity to help Lebanon build a system that capitalizes on its diversity" organized by RCPL and funded by John Holmes Fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Canada (click here to read the report).

To read the human rights report 2004, please click here.


2. Workshop: « The Forgotten Lebanese: 30 Years in Syrian Prisons »

RCPL is pleased to invite you to a workshop entitled, "The Forgotten Lebanese: 30 Years in Syrian Prisons", in collaboration with Amnesty International and Action of Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT).

Time: Thursday, May 12, 2005, 19h00
Place: Melkite Centre Of Montreal
10025, Acadie Blvd.,
Montreal, QC H4N 2S1


3. Hunger strike for the release of Lebanese prisoners in Syrian prisons

On April 11, relatives of about 280 Lebanese citizens imprisoned in Syria began an open-ended hunger strike in front of the headquarters of the United Nations in Beirut, demanding the release of all Lebanese detainees, the return of the remains of detainees killed in Syrian prisons under torture or by execution, and information on the fate of Lebanese kidnapped by Syrian forces in Lebanon.

RCPL joins its voice to those of the families of detainees. RCPL has documented hundreds of cases of Lebanese who disappeared after their arrest in Lebanon or transferal to Syria, during and after the war, by Syrian intelligence forces.


4. Bombs target civilian districts in Lebanon

On April 1: An explosion rocked a shopping centre in Broumana, northeast of Beirut, injuring seven people and causing severe damage.

On April 8: A hand grenade was lobbed at a bank in the town of Dhour Shweir, northeast of Beirut. No casualties were reported, but the bomb caused damage to the building.

RCPL condemns the terrorist attacks and hopes the perpetrators are brought to justice. RCPL views the attacks as a campaign of intimidation, targeting strongholds of opposition to Syrian domination in Lebanon. RCPL calls on the Lebanese government and security forces to take effective action to ensure the security of all citizens.


5. Syria withdraws from Lebanon

The On April 26, Syria completed the withdrawal of its military and intelligence apparatus from Lebanon, ending 29 years of occupation. RCPL joyfully welcomes this vital development for Lebanese sovereignty, independence and unity.


6. RCPL annual report

On RCPL releases 2004 annual report on human rights and democracy in Lebanon, available at http://www.rcplonline.org/research_studies.htm.
For more info or feedback please contact us at: info@rcplonline.org


7. Internship opportunity at ODRI

ODRI (Organisation pour le Développement des Relations Interculturelles) has launched a paid internship program in Lebanon for Canadian youth aged 18 to 30. It offers university or collegial graduates the chance to acquire experience in international development. For more information please visit http://www.odri.ws
 

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