Law 105
Law on Missing and Forcibly Disappeared Persons
قانون رقم ١٠٥

قانون المفقودين والمخفّيين قسًرا
© 2019 UMAM D&R
English - Arabic

On November 13, 2018, the Lebanese Parliament passed Law 105, or the Law on Missing and Forcibly Disappeared Persons, making it the first time the Lebanese government has taken a true step forward on the issue of the disappeared. The law was a welcome development by the families of the disappeared, who hoped that Lebanese officials might finally help locate the bodies or remains of the hundreds, possibly thousands of Lebanese who have been missing since the war. No longer wishful thinking, it was now their legal right to get some closure – at least on paper.

In Lebanon there is a large disparity between theory and practice, and unfortunately Law 105 will likely fall victim to these differences. Those in power might have an interest in pushing the law through on paper, but after the ink has dried they will have little desire to take concrete steps forward, as it includes measures such as locating and exhuming mass graves, something that might suggest the involvement or guilt of leaders that wish to let pass transgressions fade from memory with the passage of time.

The discussions that took place in parliament during the debate of this law, as well as the comments and reservations expressed by some MPs, are a reliable indicator of political will (or lack thereof), and could point to new directions for further advocacy, whether regarding Law 105 itself or with other measures taken to deal with Lebanon's past more broadly.

Regardless of the efficacy of the law and the political motivation of government leaders to take serious action towards closing Lebanon's strained, emotional chapter about the disappeared, UMAM D&R felt it was worth highlighting the significance of Law 105 and examining its text in detail, paving the way for increased advocacy down the road if – or when – the law fails to produce action and results. UMAM D&R reproduced the law in both Arabic and English and included comments about discrepancies and irregularities within the text, hoping to stimulate public debate about the document.

This publication is part of the Connecting the Dots initiative and was made possible thanks to funding from the Embassy of Switzerland in Lebanon.