Lebanon’s obligations to prevent and reduce statelessness and to protect stateless persons derive from a number of international instruments to which the country is party. These include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women*. In Lebanon there is a prevalence of international treaties over national law in case of any contradiction.
There is no official data on statelessness and no envisaged census due to political sensitivities related to the confessional system. According to information collected by local NGOs working on the issue, stateless communities are mostly found in the peripheral regions of Lebanon, in particular in the governorates of North Lebanon and the Bekaa.
The main identified causes of statelessness are:
– historic reasons linked to the creation of the Lebanese state
– the non-registration of individuals in the last national census carried out in 1932
– gaps in the nationality law, including gender discriminatory provisions
– a complex civil registration system
– rare implementation of the jus soli doctrine under articles 1(2) and 1(3) of the Lebanese nationality law
Concerning children, there are known profiles that are stateless or at risk of statelessness. They include foundlings, children born to a Lebanese father whose birth is not registered, children born to a Lebanese mother where the father is stateless or cannot confer his nationality on the child and children born to stateless parents.
1. Promoting law reform, and its implementation, to ensure safeguards in nationality laws to prevent statelessness amongst children.
Goal: Promote the implementation of existing safeguards against statelessness at birth present in the 1925 Nationality Law.
2. Improving birth registration to prevent statelessness.
Goal: Facilitate access to birth registration of vulnerable groups.
3. Improving the protection of stateless children in key areas (e.g. access to education and healthcare)
Goal: Stateless boys and girls can access protection and basic services including education and healthcare without discrimination