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Lebanese rally to close 'disgraceful' retention center

On March 1, 2010

Protesters rally to close 'disgraceful' retention center / The Daily Star

Lebanon must immediately close a “disgraceful” retention center where refugees and migrants are held arbitrarily in appalling conditions, activists demanded Sunday.

Braving heavy rain, around 60 people demonstrated outside the General Security Retention Center, an underground facility under Beirut’s Adlieh Bridge. Protestors flanked by almost as many security officials held placards reading: “The Lebanese Guantanamo,” “Asylum is a right, NOT a crime,” and “General Security VS human security.”

Not considered an official prison, the facility, opened in 1996, has no hot water, natural light or fresh air, and in contravention to Lebanese law, male guards are tasked with supervising female detainees. Many of those who have been detained complain of physical violence from guards, poor nutrition and filthy living conditions.

Nadim Houry (video below), from Human Rights Watch, condemns the ongoing detention by the Lebanese General Security of three Iraqi refugees who were ordered to be set free by Lebanese courts. video interview with Marie Daunay, from the Lebanese Center for Human Rights (in French) who called for the demonstration: