Lebanon

The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/68/878–S/2014/339) issued on 15 May 2014.

2013 was marked by a significant increase in violence as a result of explosions inside Lebanon and along its borders, as well as sectarian violence between factions and communities, further exacerbated by the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic.

The United Nations continued to receive allegations of use of children in sectarian clashes, specifically in the Tripoli neighbourhoods of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tebbaneh, and on children in Lebanon being pressured into joining armed groups in the Syrian Arab Republic. The majority of allegations received concerned Lebanese sectarian groups aligned with armed groups in the Syrian Arab Republic. Regarding the allegations of the involvement of children in armed violence in Lebanon, I note the joint declaration by representatives of factions of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and of the forces of the Palestinian National Coalition in Lebanon, prohibiting the recruitment and use of children within their organizations.

Despite restricted monitoring access owing to the security situation, the United Nations documented 56 incidents of violations against children, including the killing of 11 children and injury caused to 21 others by landmines, unexploded ordnance, cross-border shelling from the Syrian Arab Republic, sectarian armed clashes and sniper fire.

The United Nations received confirmed information on 24 school buildings sustaining damage during clashes between sectarian groups as well as between sectarian groups and Government forces, specifically in Tripoli and in Sidon between the Sunni radical faction of Sheikh Ahmad al-Asir and the Lebanese Armed Forces in June. A total of 36 schools, namely in Sidon (20); Ein el-Helweh Palestinian Camp (9); Nahr el-Bared Palestinian Camp (5); and el Beddawi Palestinian Camp (2), were temporarily closed due to security threats and nearby clashes, affecting more than 40,000 students.

With the large influx of refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic into Lebanon, I thank the Government’s efforts to enrol more than 102,000 Syrian children in the public school system. Moreover, UNRWA ensured access to education for more than 7,000 Palestinian refugee children from the Syrian Arab Republic in Lebanon. However, up to 300,000 refugee children remain without access to education.

During her visit to Lebanon in July 2013, my Special Representative met with senior members of the Government of Lebanon who committed to finalizing the ratification process of the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, which was pending in parliament. In late 2013, the Minister of Social Affairs publically called on all concerned actors in Lebanon to take concrete steps to end and prevent all violations against children in armed conflict. In view of the impact of armed conflict, including the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, on Lebanese children and refugee children in Lebanon, I urge the Government of Lebanon to follow up on the commitment made to my Special Representative and the call by the Minister for ratification of the Optional Protocol.