A Second Challenge to the Interior Minister’s Anti-LGBTQ Decisions: In Defense of Freedoms and the Separation of Powers in Lebanon

2022-12-19    |   

A Second Challenge to the Interior Minister’s Anti-LGBTQ Decisions: In Defense of Freedoms and the Separation of Powers in Lebanon

On 7 December 2022, the Legal Agenda and Helem filed a new State Council challenge against Caretaker Minister of Interior Bassam Mawlawi’s decision to ban activities related to LGBTQ activities in Lebanon. Mawlawi took the contested decision on November 18 in clear defiance of the State Council’s November 1 order suspending a decision he had issued in June.


He made his defiance obvious not only by issuing the new decision just hours after the publication of the State Council order but also by expanding his violation of constitutionally protected freedoms. While his previous decision banned “any meeting or gathering aiming to promote the phenomenon of sexual perversion”, this one further restricts personal freedoms and the freedoms of assembly and expression by banning any conference, activity, or demonstration related to or addressing homosexuality. Consequently, it causes further social harm by preventing efforts to provide services to LGBTQ people and marginalized groups and raise their awareness of sexual health risks, in conflict with the state’s responsibility in risk reduction.


Moreover, Mawlawi had no qualms about telling one website that he would treat the State Council order as though it does not exist. His stances and reactions in this regard constitute not only another violation of freedoms but also – and foremost – a violation of the provisions of the law that obligate him to implement judicial decisions, the principle of the separation of powers, and the independence of the judiciary. Making matters worse, he promptly issued illegitimate orders to the security agencies, specifically the Internal Security Forces and General Security, calling on them to conspire with him to violate the judicial order.


While the two organizations requested that the new case be merged into the case they filed in August 2022 and that led to the suspension order, the motivation this time is not only to defend freedoms, marginalized groups, and their right to exist but also to defend the authority and independence of the judiciary. The judiciary has an essential role in defending fundamental rights and freedoms, which are all under threat if its authority is denied and rebellion against its rulings, like that displayed by the interior minister, is tolerated.


Hence, the organizations have asked the State Council to suspend Mawlawi’s new decision as soon as possible and ultimately nullify it, not only because it restricts constitutional freedoms but also because it constitutes an abuse of authority and contravention of judicial decisions and the separation of powers.


This article is an edited translation from Arabic.

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Administrative Courts, Gender, Sexuality and Women Rights, Lebanon, Public Freedoms and Access to Information, Strategic Litigation

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