Around 21,650 Palestinian refugees who were forced to flee from Nahr al-Bared refugee camp near Tripoli in 2007 during a 15-week battle between the Lebanese Army and fighters belonging to Fatah al- Islam, an armed group, remained displaced because of the devastation and delays in reconstruction. Some 4,450 who had lived in the area adjacent to the official camp were able to return.
Lebanon also hosted refugees from Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and other countries who were constantly at risk of arrest, detention and deportation irrespective of whether they had been formally registered as refugees by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. In 2008, the General Directorate of the General Security had agreed informally to allow refugees a grace period of three months, renewable once, to find an employer to sponsor them and provide them with a residence permit and so regularize their status. This policy was not maintained in 2009.
Violence and discrimination against women
Women migrant domestic workers continued to face exploitation and physical, sexual and psychological abuse in their workplace.
In January, the Labour Ministry introduced a standard employment contract for migrant domestic workers, the vast majority of whom are women. The contract includes a job description and sets out the rights and responsibilities of the employer and employee, and the maximum number of working hours. However, no monitoring process was established to ensure employer compliance and the change appeared insufficient to afford migrant domestic workers effective protection.
The nationality law does not allow Lebanese women to pass on their nationality to their spouses or children, even if they were born in Lebanon.
- The public prosecution and a legal commission at the Ministry of Justice contested, in July and September respectively, a June decision by three judges allowing Samira Soueidan to pass on her nationality to three of her children. No hearings on the case had been held by the end of the year. The children's father, an Egyptian national, had died 15 years earlier.
Special Tribunal for Lebanon
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon opened on 1 March near the Hague in the Netherlands. One of its first acts was to ask the Lebanese authorities to hand over the cases of four generals who had been detained without charge in Lebanon since August 2005 in connection with Rafic Hariri's assassination. The Lebanese authorities complied, and the four generals – Jamil al-Sayyed, Mustapha Hamdan, Ali al-Hajj and Raymond Azar – were released without charge by order of the Special Tribunal by 29 April. In 2008, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had found the generals' detention to be arbitrary and unjust.
Earlier, in February, the Lebanese authorities released on bail three other detainees – Ahmad 'Abd al-'Aal, Mahmoud 'Abd al-'Aal and Ibrahim Jarjoura – who had been held for three years, apparently because they were suspected of making false statements to the UN body investigating Rafic Hariri's assassination and related attacks.