President of Society headed on of
the sessions, Symposium B: Peace & Development
the two key issues human beings seek for a fitful
survival. They are interrelated one cannot be achieved
without the other. They contain the value of life;
peace preserves it & development enhances its
kind to fit for the human species. God endowed this
species with virtual qualities deserving a qualitative
Will & capacity are the tools to foster peace
Women can foster peace & development par excellence.
In the simplest expression describing women role
we can say: women perform a complementary role indispensable
for an adequate world.
An adequate world means a world of justice &
peace with people working for its good.
No doubt men & women intend to achieve a better
world to live in, to breed their children &
to realize oneself. Nonetheless each one of them
plays the role according to his/her personality
Women in the pursuit of their objectives are totally
sacrificing & honest, this not to say that men
are not but the difference lies in each one’s
Women are human creatures destined to play a developmental
role complying with their mission, the mission of
creation, they are life carriers, so they value
life as a preciously as they suffer to make it &
thus infinitely to keep it. In other words the basic
role of women is fostering peace & development
as their innate feature.
When we mention the role of women as fostering peace
& development we keep in mind:
- Her role as a “caring for others person”,
scientifically women are proved to be caring for
others. It was observed among new born babies that
baby girls pay attention by turning their heads
towards the direction of a crying baby while boys
- Her role of creating hegemony among her family
members & most of the time she’s the mediator
between her children & their father, her husband.
She brings them closer to each other & makes
her best for coordination & understanding which
- Her attitude in discussing rather than fighting,
it’s rare to view women fighting, using weapons
or bare hands to convince others by a point of view
neither in a developed nor in underdeveloped countries.
At the same time women are sharp & decisive.
- Women are not corrupt & never tend to mediocrity
when destiny is in question
- To women public interests are as important as
family interests thus society, nation & country
are personal matters as the family is.
Memorandum to WANGO on the recognition
of Governments of the role of NGOs:
It is the age of NGOs recognition. This is a “Call”
to work out a beneficial output from this recognition
& make it fruitful. Governments lately admitted
that the role of NGOs is essential & they are
ready to co-ordinate with them. So it is our golden
age & it is inviting to make the best of a permanent
useful co-ordination between governmental &
The issue is global & the concept is gaining
Earlier NGOs were marginal limited to the equation
of capacity & charity or poverty & welfare.
In this era their role widened to encompass nearly
all domains of life, reaching the domain of businesses.
Thanks to the sacrifices, perseverance, hardworking
& will that enabled NGOS to rank highly among
To be realistic, in spite of the progressed status
of NGOs they are still faced with obstacles that
hinder their performance.
Co-ordination with governments facilitates their
mission & enables them to greater accomplishments
& further roles mainstreaming in one noble target:
“The Good of Humanity”.
This governmental new orientation is an indirect
confession that they alone are not capable of social
rescue when needed. It is true that governments
possess authority & tools but they are usually
short of prompt action especially in times of disaster,
for example; emergency relief programs, alleviating
poverty, illiteracy & disease. Administrative
routine, laws & regulations & political
complications are there & governments have to
abide by & watch. This fact together with the
credibility the NGOs gained made the co-ordination
You WANGO people were pioneers in promoting this
orientation –hopefully it would be considered
as paving the way in this direction. The two WANGO
conferences that I had the pleasure to attend were
opened at the Parliaments of the hosting countries.
I would suggest a further step that is organizing
the next conference under the title “Co-Ordination
between Governmental & Non-Governmental Organizations’.
I myself would gladly work for such a conference
in Lebanon -or elsewhere- because lately I had the
chance on a meeting with the Lebanese Prime Minister
Fouad Siniora, to hear from him that NGOs are &
will stay a priority during his term.
The Society participated in the United
Nations Celebration on the occasion of the 60th
anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights.
Princess Mada Arslan delivered a speech in one of
the session on 4/09/2008 at 1:30pm.
On behalf of our Society “Society of Lebanon
the Giver” I thank the International Federation
of Family Associations of Missing Persons from Armed
Conflicts for giving me the chance of addressing
you & addressing the United Nations’ conference
or rather on calling on United Nations to acknowledge
the right of families to know about their missing
members from armed conflicts & to request from
its member states to implement such resolutions.
When governments fail people turn to the United
Nations assuming that the ultimate power is entrusted
globally in this organization. The assumption is
solid & true; the evidence is here in this conference
celebrating the 60th anniversary of Human Rights
declaration & also lies in the serious performance
throughout the UN’s history.
The topic of this seminar denotes a vital issue
causing tremendous suffering to people all over
the world especially in my country, Lebanon where
numerous families from various regions & sects
await in vain for years to know the destiny of their
members missing from armed conflicts.
In Lebanon the number of missing persons is around
17,000 who disappeared between 1975 & 1996.
Only lately 16,000 (the number is approximate) were
indirectly declared dead when the militias of that
period denied having any prisoners.
We witnessed intermittently, several funerals where
families buried the remains of their long awaited
relatives, while others still wait pleading to know.
It is an utmost suffering when people stand amidst
the way, lost between sadness & hope; shall
they grieve the loss or keep waiting hoping to meet
again a missing family member?
That is the case of the remaining 700 individuals
who are assumed to be imprisoned & still alive.
Ever since their disappearance, their families are
in continuous search. Most of them keep bouncing
among politicians & officials to know their
I’ll speak about some cases from real life:
This woman is claiming her brother’s freedom.
She promised her mother who died in distress to
carry on the case. He was 17 years old in 1976 when
he was kidnapped.
Mrs Eid says: my son Jihad was arrested in 1973,
he was 20 years old a university student serving
in the military. For a long time she knew nothing
about him until a freed prisoner brought her news
that he’s still alive in a syrian prison.
She even tried to contact some Human rights’
missions & associations when she travelled to
Europe on October 13, 1990 in an attempt to get
their aid to know anything about her missing son.
Rana Khawand, this beautiful young girl, claims
the liberty of her father Botros Khawand who was
kidnapped right in front of his house. He was a
member of the Phalanges political bureau–
a rightist party. Yara was only 4 years old, she
studied journalism to work on liberating her father
whose existence is still a question. She & her
two brothers were brought up by their mother who
is tired & helpless after 16 years of continuous
search with no result.
Georgette Chamoun passed away recently on Sunday
August 17 2008, after 31 years of searching &
waiting for her son Joseph. Her friends in the tent
attended the funeral & went back to their sit-in
hoping not to die before knowing the fate of their
The tent you see has been the lodge of those families
since 2005 where they claim their right to know
& try to remind the public, the government &
the international community of their cause for fear
their case might be forgotten or overlooked.
This tent is a reservoir of heart-breaking stories,
it is also a place of recurring visits from locals
& foreigners, officials aiming at boosting their
public image & even movie producers looking
for inspiring true stories.
The choice of the tent’s location in down
town Beirut facing the UN’s headquarters was
meant to be the final refuge to lift the banner
of a just cause that needs international support.
The movement was only successful in getting the
case listed in the United Nation’s annual
report in 2005.
Now, a progressive step is needed from us as conferees
to advocate & from the UN as the sole international
organization & the mother of the World community
to forge a UN resolution giving those people in
particular & humanity in general the right to
know the fate of those missing from armed conflicts.
It is by large a demand to save people from such
human sufferings & a credit to the UN for human
Furthermore & as a sequence those families need
financial assistance, their economic situation is
appalling since the missing member is usually the
family’s bread winner.
Those that disappeared left babies & children
(who are now grown up girls & boys), wives &
parents who depended on them.
In addition, the follow-up search is costly ranging
between transport, offering gifts to those who are
supposed to know & even bribing the prison wardens
& guards to facilitate meeting those missing
Moreover shameful stories are told about the abuse
& violation the women left behind bear. They
sometimes have to sacrifice their dignity to get
any piece of information however small it was or
take a glimpse at their son or brother or father.
Here it is worth to mention that some freed prisoners
verify the existence of some of the missing ones
in Syrian prisons where they have been detained
although the official position of Syrian officials
is complete denial.
It is heart-breaking & infuriating to witness
such a violation of human rights. No child should
have to grow in such life scarring pain, no mother
or father should have to die not knowing the fate
of their beloved son or daughter, no brother or
sister should have to live restlessly pleading officials
& non-officials for a hint, & no woman should
have her dignity taken from her just because she
Now, you will hear from the head of the Support
of Lebanese in Detention and Exile (SOLIDE) which
represents the family association of missing persons.
Mr. Ghazi Aad has been struggling & working
hard with those families to discover to fate of
Mr. Ghazi’s speech
- The obligation of States under the Charter of
the United Nations and other international instruments,
to promote respect for, and observance of, human
rights and fundamental freedoms,
- That the systematic and prolonged practice of
enforced disappearance is a crime against humanity,
Recalling the protection afforded to victims of
armed conflicts by the Geneva Conventions of 1949,
- To the relevant articles of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture
and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which
protects the right to life, the right to liberty,
the right not to be subjected to torture and the
right not to be arbitrary arrested,
Restating the objective of the open sit-in launched
on April 11, 2005 in front of the UN House in Beirut
by the families of the Lebanese detainees,
REQUEST the United Nations to live up to its responsibilities
and give this problem the utmost concern by adding
it to the requirements of the UNSCR 1559 and its
implementation and to establish an international
commission of investigation with full powers to
Investigate into cases of ‘enforced disappearance’
of Lebanese nationals between 1976 & 2005.