12H01 - jeudi 28 septembre 2023

Omar Harfouch before the UN: “Ladies and gentlemen, help me to abolish the law which makes Lebanon an anti-Semitic and racist state! »


It is a vibrant appeal to the daughters and sons of Abraham which came from the heart of Lebanon… In fact from the heart of a Lebanese but delivered in the Geneva premises of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Because its author is currently prevented from returning to his country…

The United Nations Human Rights Council, during its 54th ordinary session held on September 26 in Geneva, heard a moving speech from Omar Harfouch, business leader, media man, renowned pianist and universalist activist.

Born Sunni, Omar Harfouch was educated in a Christian school, reflecting the religious diversity for which Lebanon is known. The man revealed that he is persecuted by the Lebanese government because of his perfectly peaceful opinions and activities.

He highlighted the charges brought against him by the Lebanese military court (prosecuting a civilian before military justice is already contrary in itself to international conventions), threatening him with the death penalty for simply having been many years ago in the same room as an American-Israeli journalist and for having given a speech in the European Parliament in the presence of Jews, pro-Israelis, Zionists or Israelis, according to the Lebanese accusation.

Omar Harfouch bluntly expressed his accusations against the Lebanese government: “Lebanon is an anti-Semitic, discriminatory and racist country. » He called on the international community, particularly participants in the Human Rights Council, to challenge Lebanon’s strict policies that limit freedom of expression and association.

In a poignant moment, Omar Harfouch addressed the participants of this session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, asking them if there were Jews, Israelis, Zionists or pro-Israelis in the room. Indeed, he stressed that, according to Lebanese law, he should discriminate against them. “Which I refuse to do,” he said passionately. Adding that no one should be judged on the basis of their birth, religion or nationality, urging Council members to support his demand to abolish this “racist and discriminatory law”.

The speech attracted widespread attention, with many ambassadors and human rights advocates expressing concern about the allegations and showing solidarity with Omar Harfouch.

Let us hope that the international community will adopt firm resolutions in light of Omar Harfouch’s convincing speech to urge Lebanon to abolish iniquitous laws from another age.


Michel Taube

Directeur de la publication

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