Statement of a group of associations on subjecting detainees to drug tests

Beirut, August 10, 2020

 Statement of a group of associations on subjecting detainees to drug tests

 After the horror of the disaster that afflicted Lebanon, the associations and institutions working in the field of prevention, treatment, psychiatry, rehabilitation, and harm reduction send the families and friends of the victims of the Beirut massacre their warmest condolences and feelings of sympathy for their loss, and wishing a speedy recovery for the wounded and injured.

 After the popular movements and protests that took place in Beirut on August 8 and 9 in the Martyrs' Square and near the Parliament, the arrests that followed them, and the announcement by the Internal Security Forces, in a statement, that all detainees were subjected to drug tests, which is not the first time, a group of associations signed and issued the following statement:

 First, associations categorically reject illegal practices that contribute to the unjust marginalization and stigmatization of groups of young men and women, their families, and their societies.

 Secondly, subjecting detainees to these examinations is a violation of international conventions, human rights, principles of public health, and the right to privacy, and a violation of public and personal freedoms.

 Third, subjecting detainees to these examinations is a flagrant violation of the "Patient Rights and Informed Consent" law, especially Article 6 of it, which states that "no medical work may be performed, nor any treatment may be applied without the prior consent of the concerned person."

 Fourthly, the decision to subject detainees to these examinations, even if it comes directly from the discriminatory public prosecution, is without legal justification or suspicion for their drug use…

 So, we call on the Lebanese judiciary and in particular the Public Prosecution Office, to:

 - Adherence to the universal principles of human rights, which enshrine the right to life without compromising human dignity and violating rights;

 - Respect the Lebanese constitution, which guarantees the right of Lebanese citizens to express their views;

 Abide by the Lebanese law, especially Article 6 of the Patient Rights Law and informed consent

 - Application of the Lebanese Drug Law No. 1998673 / which enshrines the principle of "treatment as an alternative to punishment" in drug cases, especially since the "Joint Strategy for Combating Drugs and Addiction in Lebanon 2016-2021" stipulates in Article 1.3.2 that "Laws should be reviewed so that the criminalization of the use of illegal substances is abolished.

 Finally, we believe that laws are in place to protect and serve human beings and that law enforcement mechanisms must enshrine this principle, not violating rights, increasing marginalization and stigmatization. From here, we reiterate our rejection of any measure or practice that violates human rights.

 Signed Associations:

 - Middle East and North Africa Network Harm Reduction Association - MENAHRA

- Lebanese Drug Addiction Center - Skoun

- Health Care Association (SIDC) - L'Escale Center for Harm Reduction and Drug Treatment

- Association Justice and Mercy - AJEM

- CCAA Lebanon

- Tajamoh - Sidon

- Legal Agenda

- Nusroto Association – Prison Fellowship Lebanon

- Lebanese Psychiatric Association (LPS)