Posts Tagged ‘LGBT’


The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) at the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality has announced the launch of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity & Expression (SOGIE) Monitor.

“The SOGIE Monitor is a unified online documentation tool between organizations working on gender and sexuality, with a focus on LGBT populations.”

This online  platform has been created to document and classify cases of human rights violations on the basis of gender identity & expression and sexual orientation. Marsa Sexual Health Center, Helem (Lebanese Protection for LGBT), LebMASH (Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health), and MOSAIC (MENA Organization for Services, Advocacy, Integration and Capacity Building) are Part of It! Hat off to the 3 Organisations!!!!

“The aim is to allow individuals as well as service providers to document cases of violations via a secure interface and to provide the necessary follow-up and referral for violation cases. Filling this information gap will also allow for the publication of regular reports of the different violations, to be used as an important tool for advocacy and lobbying.”

For more information, here is the  website in Arabic: www.thesogiemonitor.org

Again Hat off for such a wonderful Initiative!!

Rita Chemaly


here is the link 

إبلاغ عن انتهاك


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ImageThe evolution of media and the progress of communication have made it easier than ever for young people to share their private information, pictures and other. More people are encountering the risk to be bullied when they share their private pictures, their statuses and their life.

Bullying occurs when a person or a group repeatedly and intentionally use or abuse their power to intimidate, hurt, oppress or damage someone else”.  Bullying can be physical, verbal, social, or on the cyber space.

On Social Media what we witness is a replication of the bullying done on the traditional media such as TV shows. Prime time comedies such as Wajdi w majdi in Lebanon are what we can categorize as social bullying. “Repeated mimicking,” “nasty pranks”, using homophobic or racist slurs damage the reputation of a whole community such as the LGBT.

Usually teenagers, children and communities that are bullied are “ill-equipped” and do not know how to respond.

In my opinion parents and teachers should clearly explain to their children and students the importance of the privacy settings of social networks , such as facebook.

With the progress of the education system in Lebanon and the use of tablets and internet since primary school, teachers and responsible should create groups of the children for them to put the norms of ethics. And a sharter of responsible use of the comment part of the social networks and platforms such as Facebook and twitter.

Moreover they need to talk to them and teach them to never post or say anything that they wouldn’t want the whole world to know. One day the boss may check the profile of a person. As the ex-girl friend of Mark Zuckeberg said in the movie of the social network: “the internet is written in Ink and not in Pencil.” What you post, send or publish can never be deleted, and can easily go viral so be aware!

Rita Chemaly

PS: I wrote this post after doing research for the episode of CASES that hosted me and my long time friend Hussein. .

TO WATCH the full episode: http://youtu.be/Vv960GiW85g

Below is the description published on You Tube: “The show CASES, produced by Aly Sleem and Shant Kerbabian and hosted by Shant Kerbabian, deals with human rights violations, regardless of any political affiliation and agenda. We stand by the oppressed people everywhere, so we aim at tackling their cases professionally from both humanitarian and legal perspectives. Our objective is to raise awareness and to speak out for those who have no voice

We were glad to host:

In our studio in Beirut: Rita Chemaly, Author and Researcher on Human Rights

Via Satellite from Beirut: Hussein Itany, Human Rights Activist and Advocacy Trainer”

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NGOs in Lebanon: Abusing Their Workers in the Name of Human Rights

“Ability to work under stress, alone or in a team, and the ability to multitask.” These are some of the conditions repeated in most job ads for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Lebanon. “Under stress” and “multitasking” might not seem like the kind of expressions that call for closer examination, yet they often tacitly spell worker exploitation.

With a fragile Lebanese economy, many qualified young people look for work in the fastest “growing” sector in Lebanon and that is the NGO sector. Most of these people are forced to accept adverse working conditions under the pretext of working for the public good and supporting important humanitarian causes! Labor rights are seen as nothing but a minute detail that distracts from fundamental goals like “poverty reduction,” “the empowerment of women,” “good governance,” “conflict resolution and the dialogue of civilizations” as well as other such concepts shoved down people’s throats by funders.

Organizations in Lebanon are not new, they were one of the foundations of sectarian pastoral institutions shortly before Lebanon’s independence and the withdrawal of foreign forces in 1946. They also flourished during the war to compensate for the breakdown of the state. But after 1990, and with the rise of structural economic policies globally accompanied by the gradual withdrawal of the welfare state, civil organizations proliferated dramatically. Funds from international donors started pouring in to address the social repercussions of structural changes that occurred in state institutions.The number of associations registered, according to the Law of Associations, reached 5,623 in 2007. If we exclude from this figure political parties, clubs, scouts and family ties in addition to fictitious or inactive associations then the number would range between 1,200 to 1,500 organizations, according to the 2010 civil society organizations directory.

Open Job Opportunities

Civil society organizations’ fields of activity have varied over the past few years and so have the approaches they take, ranging from charity to services and development. Funding increased and the donors multiplied. This created new job opportunities that are rarely found in the public and private sectors especially for medium-qualified and highly-qualified young people.

For example, the number of job vacancies on the website Lebanon Support (a civil society portal) sometimes reaches about 800 positions, according to the executive director Bassem Chit.

The civil organizations sector brought with it new kinds of professions that are not recognized in the public and private sectors, including human rights trainer, facilitator and advocacy officer. Some Lebanese universities have started to provide disciplines for these jobs to respond to market demand.

As with the private sector, this sector has witnessed a decline in labor earnings… though hidden in its “non-profit” cloak.

It is hard to count the number of employees in these organizations because only a small percentage of them have work contracts that are registered with social security. And even if they have contracts, they often work for short periods of time (depending on the length of the projects), and herein lies the problem. The civil society organizations sector is characterized by an absolute lack of job security and stability.

Chit said that while donors used to operate based on programs which lasted longer and needed a medium-term strategy, the current trend is to fund short-term projects and rely on contractors to cut labor cost.

Maya (not her real name) has ten years experience in civil society organizations, during which she moved between seven different organizations (the longest period she spent at one organization was a year and a half). Throughout those years she only received social security benefits for two years, therefore she was deprived of a large chunk of end of service indemnity. She admits that she has recurring anxiety about funding running out or the project ending. She remembers an incident that happened when she used to work for an organization concerned with women’s rights on a program addressing women’s economic rights, including social security. She says that she felt embarrassed working on this campaign: “How did we have the nerve to work for women’s social security at a time when the organization consisted mostly of women who lacked social security?”

Zeina (not her real name) has worked at many organizations since 2003. She believes that the basic offense lies in the manipulation of concepts and values which legitimizes many violations at work. She explains: “One can not ask for a raise or adhere to certain working hours or calculate overtime… because one’s work is divided between the job and volunteering.”

She says that at one of her jobs she was signing papers stating that her monthly salary was $900 while in reality she was receiving $700. When she complained about it the executive director justified it by saying that the association takes from employees’ salaries to pay for office expenses that were not taken into consideration by the funder in the budget.

Zeina’s case apparently is not unique. Based on the interviews we conducted, the problem is a common one in these organizations even if the excuses differ. Walid (not his real name), for example, has been working for a year at an association concerned with women’s rights. He says that part of his salary was deducted to pay social security contributions in full, including the employer’s contribution!

Zeina says that the problem she experienced most at work was the large number of tasks she was assigned that went beyond the scope of her “job,” under the pretext that part of the work is volunteer-based.

Farah remembers her first work experience in an organization concerned with refugee issues. When she asked her director about working hours, the director responded firmly: “There are no work hours here, we’re all volunteers.” Farah said she couldn’t stay for a long time in this organization as “employees” were on average putting in about 12 hours work a day in addition to working weekends, which was the normal trend. Of course there is no overtime pay because “the funder pays based on the tasks performed, not the hours of work,” says Maya.

The violations do not stop there, according to the editor of the Lebanese Observatory for the rights of Workers and Employees, Ahmad al-Dirani. He says that in addition to the problem of not having contracts and workers being deprived of social security and set work hours, most organizations do not have a mechanism for wage increases and most workers did not get the wage increase that was passed recently.Furthermore, under the pretext of being secular, some civil society organizations do not commit to all the official religious holidays and do not give vacations. In the last organization where Zeina worked, which was concerned with legal and human rights issues, she was allowed eight days of vacation annually instead of 15 – a clear violation of labor law.

Despite the human rights approach adopted by most civil society organizations, you find a lot of discriminatory practices between employees, whether in hiring or employment conditions. “We have the foreigner complex,” says Maya with a bitter smile. She says that during her work she came across many cases of discrimination between the “locals” and the foreigners. “With the same job description and indentical tasks and qualifications required, there was a $300 difference in wages between a French employee and myself, even though she did not know Arabic.”

Al-Dirani believes that the working conditions of civic association employees are still a lot worse, even though they enjoy job stability due to the flow of funds from religious and sectarian institutions.

Jinan is a nurse at a medical clinic that belongs to a religious organization. She has been working for five years for minimum wage, she has no work contract and does not receive social security benefits or health insurance and not even her yearly vacation.

Samia is in no better a situation. She’s been working for six years in an organization that belongs to a prominent political personality and there too “working hours depend on the work that needs to be done.” She indicates also that she does not have social security or private insurance.

Volunteering… or Cheap Labor?

Most of these violations take place under the guise of volunteering. The United Nations Volunteer Program defines volunteer work as “contributions that individuals make as non-profit, non-wage… action for the well-being of their neighbours, and society at large.”

If we step away from the idealism of this definition and we look at the dynamics of work and relationships between people inside organizations it becomes clear that volunteering has become in many cases synonymous with cheap labor.

The way money is dealt with in these NGOs is made evident in the examples that Walid cited about his work in this field. He saw how money is generously spent on hotels and taxis, so he did not have the audacity to convince target populations, most of them from poor and marginalized areas, to volunteer.

Who’s the Boss?

Labor relations in this field are no doubt ambiguous. The identity of the worker is lost between volunteering and working and the role of the employer is not clearly defined and is lost between the board of directors, the executive director and the funder.

If legally the employer is the administrative body then actual power is likely to lie in the hands of the executive director who is hired by an organization to be in charge of personnel management and to perform daily tasks. That is, the executive director is the decision-maker when it come to the terms and working conditions of the rest of the employees.

For Zeina, the executive director is the boss, meaning he is the person with whom she negotiates for her labor rights while “the role of the administrative body in this respect is often marginal.”

Walid points out that despite the direct daily relationship with his executive director, the funder bears a huge responsibility whether directly or indirectly in terms of determining working conditions.

Based on her experience in dealing with donors, Zeina stressed that in the best case scenario, some funders force management to sign model contracts (that include tasks, duration of contract and salary) but without determining the hours of work, social security, end of service indemnity and mechanisms for complaints.Maya is sure that most funders do not observe the working conditions at the organizations they deal with and even if they notice violations at work, they turn a blind eye.

It appears then that work relationships are three-pronged and consist of the employee, management and funder. The last party might seem absent but has a lot of influence. If exploitation of workers in the private sector involves reducing their share of added value for the benefit of increasing the corporation’s capital and the investors’ profits, exploitation in civil society organizations consists of reducing labor costs (wages and social security) to invest in projects and activities in order to compete with other organizations and attract more funding.

The ambiguity of labor relationships and the resulting “invisible” exploitation are not the only obstacles to organizing this sector and defending the rights of its workers. The problem also lies in the workers’ way of thinking and the logic of their work that relies on dialogue to “resolve conflicts” and the “we all benefit and no one loses” mentality regardless of who has the authority and the capital.

The question therefore remains, are employees of NGOs who are used to legalizing conflict and diluting it able to engage in a battle to defend their labor rights?

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

an Article by CAROLE KERBAJ

Source: http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/ngos-lebanon-abusing-their-workers-name-human-rights


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have you read the story lately?

I was on twitter when someone said that joe Maalouf is belevied to be gay….

my answer is I don’t CARE! what is this stupid and negative campaign going to do to raise awareness against homophobic reactions in Lebanon?!!!!

if a stupid tv host is gay or hetero, what this will add to the cause?? Nothing….

what I am talking about ? those are the multiple tweets and blogs I condemn.

the story begins with this news published by a certain Dan Littauer in Gay Star News: I am copying the article for those who cannot open it, below;

the article features a link on MTV news called prostitution and perversion in a Cinema; I am also copying the article below for those who would like to read it in arabic. the piece of news is more rubbish, they call gays perverts, ….. akh 😦

Helem an association that “leads a peaceful struggle for the liberation of people with non-conforming sexualities or gender identities …”  condemned the program and the MTV programs; موقف جمعيّة “حلم” من برنامج “أنت حر” http://helem.net/node/210

the problem I have is with the articles that showed in THE gay star news, that has been going viral on social media, on akhbar el chabeb of annahar, on blogs,

for example the last article “Lebanon : Offensive … conducted by a homophobic gay? Posted by  ⋅ July 30, 2012″ the last paragraph stipulates ” The irony is that Maalouf himself is gay. In any case the assertion Georges Azzi , Helem founder and current leader of the Arab Foundation for Freedom and Equality. On Facebook, he commented on the matter in these terms: “I do not know what’s sadder: that Joe Maalouf’s gay (and well known by the gay community) and working for a conservative chain is taking for the morality police or the fact that this young homo in the closet with his stupid program can mobilize the police as no other movement. ”  …. what?!!!! I truly hope that Azzi didnt do that… is that positive campaigning?????  outing people when we need in lebanon to help people feel safe, and accepted and Respected as they are?!!! I am sorry…. again this is for me Rubbish!!! this doesn’t help the cause on the contrary!!

Pire, the bloggers took on this trend with articles  such as the one that was published by fafathink Joe Maalouf is a homophobic Nazi prick. , again, what??!!?!!! this doesnt help the cause!!! Dears, dears, this is not what we should focus on!!! we should focus on how to amend article 534 ,

As the third voice of Lebanon is doing… with the great text that uses a great legal jargon….. but focus on the loopholes of the Lebanese legislation system! LES EXAMENS DE LA HONTE À L’ÉPREUVE DE LA CONSTITUTION LIBANAISE.pdf Version History here is the link…. “https://www.facebook.com/groups/La3emvoix/365162720219632/” !!

I am angry!!! I remember what the politicians do when they campaign using rubbish, and rubbish talks!!! …… we should focus on the men arrested, and the legislation that will apply to them, and not ternish someone reputation!!!

I am angry!! we need positive and proactive campaigns!!!

Rita Chemaly….

here is the article of Gay Star News http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/lebanon-arrests-36-men-gay-porn-cinema290712:

Lebanon arrests 36 men in gay porn cinema

36 men arrested in Beirut, Lebanon for alleged gay debauchery after TV show unveiled activity in porn cinemas

29 July 2012      | By Dan Littauer

Joe Maalouf a Lebanese gay celebrity used his program to incite anti-gay hate.

Thirty six men were arrested yesterday (28 July) in a porn cinema in Beirut, Lebanon, Gay Star News can reveal.Police raided Plaza Cinema, Beirut, which screens porn films and is famous for being a cruising spot, arresting 36 people including the owner, reported the Lebanese Murr TV (MTV) channel.MTV’s report was written in a highly inflammatory language designed to stir up anti-gay feelings.

It called the men ‘shozoz’, a highly derogatory term in Arabic roughly translated to ‘perverts’ in English, and alleged the cinema was a ‘safe haven’ for prostitution and debauchery.

In an attempt to fuel public outrage the report stated that the man behind the Colorado cinema shooting was gay – which is an allegation without any evidence behind it. It said in Lebanon the issue is the transformation of cinemas into a place of immorality prostitution and perversion.

It is unclear if the men, who ‘are mainly gay’, according to MTV, are still being detained or have been released.

In addition the cinema was shut down by the police.

Lebanese activists are still unclear on what grounds the men were arrested, but they suspect that ‘public indecency’ and Article 534 of the Lebanese penal code were used to arrest them.

Article 534 prohibits having sexual relations ‘contradicting the laws of nature’, which is punishable by up to a year in prison.

In 2009 Judge Mounir Suleiman from the Batroun court district ruled that consensual homosexual relations are not against nature and thus cannot be prosecuted under article 534, but it may be that in this case the article had nevertheless been used.

Helem, the LGBT advocacy charity in Lebanon, is now seeking legal advice and is planning for direct action.

The arrest comes after a concerted anti-gay campaign championed by reporter and celebrity presenter Joe Maalouf, in his program ‘Enta Horr’ (‘You are free’) that is screened by MTV.

On 8 May MTV screened the program featuring an undercover camera filming men having sex in a porn cinema in the city of Tripoli, whilst exposing their identity to the public.

Maalouf called upon the police and authorities to act against the shozoz (perverts), debauchery and prostitution which they practice in ‘such places.’

He also mentioned that there are several other cinemas that practice this ‘debauchery’.

Helem condemned the program saying that it violated the right of privacy and basic human rights, let alone being unprofessional and unethical by the use of inflammatory and negative language. It called upon Maalouf, and the station to apologise and retract the broadcast.

Maalouf, however, did not relent his homophobic campaign and mentioned on several occasions other cinemas allow ‘debauchery’, perversion and prostitution.

A few weeks ago he also alleged that the authorities are protecting the perverts and the cinemas and called for law enforcement action against these cinemas. This instigated the raid on Saturday.

Maalouf is widely believed in the Lebanese LGBT community to be a closeted gay man, although Gay Star News can not verify if he is truly gay. However his actions have now lead to him being outed.

Commenting on the news, Georges Azzi, the founder of Helem and executive director for the Arab Foundation For Freedoms And Equality stated on his Facebook page: ‘After the call made by Joe Maalouf in his program “inta horr”, yesterday the police raided plaza cinema in Burj Hammoud, a gay cruising cinema.

‘I do not know what is more sad, the fact that Joe Maalouf is gay (and well known by the gay community) and he is working for a conservative TV station playing the morality police, or the fact that a closeted gay kid with a stupid program can mobilize the police like no other movement could.’

Watch Maalouf’s rant on 8 May program ‘Enta Horr’ (from 00:42:00) in Arabic:


Related Terms:

دعارة وشذوذ في السينما

Sat 28 Jul 2012 – 9:03:00 PM

عادة ما تكون مخبأ من الحياة العملية او ما عداها او كوة تلتمس منها مكانا للسفر إلى عالم الخيال أو ربما التراجيديا ، ولم لا… الكوميديا في أغلب الاحيان.

يجمعون على تسميتها بالفن السابع كيف لا والسينما تجمع أروع الاعمال والمواهب وتضم أضخم الانتاجات التي تراسل الشرق والغرب ناقلة بمبلغ زهيد حضارات وثقافات إلى زمان ومكان مختلفين.

إلا أنها تحولت في الآونة الاخيرة الى ملاذ للمنحرفين يفجرون فيه اكل ما يختزنون في داخلهم من مشاكل نفسية أو كبت أو حتى “شذوذ”.

البداية كانت من كولورادو التي شهدت إحدى صالات السينما فيها جريمة مروعة بعد ان اقدم شاب على إطلاق النار بشكل عشوائي موقعا 12 قتيلا وعشرات الجرحى.

في لبنان، الوضع مختلف حيث لم يسقط لا قتلى ولا جرحى، انما المشكلة اخلاقية وتحديدا في صالة سينما بلازا في النبعة، حيث وللمرة الثالثة تم إقفالها بالشمع الأحمر بسبب تحولها إلى مكان للدعارة والشذوذ. كما تم إلقاء القبض في داخلها على ستة وثلاثين شخصا معظمهم من الشاذين جنسيا، منهم بالجرم المشهود، كما تم توقيف صاحب السينما

to view the piece if video  check this link : it appeared on the news http://mtv.com.lb/News/108657

below is the LBCI news:
أمن وقضاء
31-07-2012                                                                                                 19:47
36 شاباً اقتيدوا من صالة سينما وأٌخضعوا لفحوصات المثلية

هزت فضيحة جديدة “سينما بلازا” في برج حمود، التي أقفلت بالشمع الاحمر بقرار من الدولة لكونها تشكّل تهديداً للأخلاق العامة، في خطوة ليست الاولى من نوعها فقد قامت الدولة باقفال صالات كثيرة أخرى منها “سينما موناكو” لأنها تهددّ الآداب العامة.
ولكن أزمة اقفال “سينما بلازا” تتخطّى الحدود الضيقة للموضوع. إذ قرر مكتب حماية الآداب توقيف 36 شخصاً كانوا موجودين في السينما .وقد تم اخضاعهم لفحصوات المثلية الجنسية التي تنتهك الحدّ الأدنى من حقوق الإنسان ومن خصوصيّته وحميميّته.
وفي هذا السياق، لفت ناشط في المجتمع المدني في حديث الى الـLBCI الى أنه يتم الهجوم في الفترة الاخيرة على الأشخاص المستضعفين في لبنان من فلسطينيين الى عاملات أجانب ، الى مثليين، مؤكدا أنه ينوي تقديم اعتراض على فحوصات المثلية الى نقابة الاطباء.

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