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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Monitoring MPs’ Human Rights and Free Speech Positions – January 2024

Friday , 16 February 2024

Background and Context


In the beginning of 2024, several noteworthy developments influenced the statements made by numerous Members of Parliament (MPs) on social media. Among these, three events pertained to human rights, while the remaining three did not. Consequently, statements concerning the former were incorporated into this monitoring, while those regarding the latter were omitted.


Human-rights related occurrences:

  • January 11: South Africa addressed the United Nations’ highest court in a bid to end Israel’s genocide in Gaza.
  • January 18: Judge Sabbouh Sulaiman filed a personal complaint with the General Prosecution against journalist Riad Tawk, accusing him of “defamation, slander, and libel.”
  • January 27: Nine countries suspended their funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).


Non-human-rights related occurrences:

  • January 8: Hackers disrupted the screens in the Beirut Rafik Hariri International Airport with anti-Hezbollah messages.
  • January 24: During live coverage of the parliamentary session, a heated argument occurred between Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and MPs Melhem Khalaf, Ali Hassan Khalil, and Firas Hamdan.
  • January 29: The Maronite Patriarch Beshara Boutros Al-Rahi’s call for neutrality triggered reactions and accusations of treason by pro-Hezbollah activists.


Compared to the previous month (December 2023), there was a rise in the number of statements concerning human rights in January 2024, with a total of 105 such statements issued by 31 MPs.


Of the 105 statements, 43% highlighted the situation of Palestinians either by defining the mass killings of Palestinians as a genocide (23%), advocating for the rights of Palestinians (12%), or characterizing Israel’s attacks to Palestine as war crimes (9%). This indicates that nearly half of the human rights-related statements were tied to the war on Gaza, which has tragically resulted in the death of at least 28,000 Palestinians since October 7, 2023.




In January 2024, 31 MPs issued a total of 105 statements addressing human rights, through their personal accounts on X and Facebook.


These statements have been classified into 12 categories, with the initial one focusing on Palestine, maintaining its prominence since October 2023:

  • Genocide in Palestine
  • Impunity
  • Right to education
  • Palestinians’ rights
  • Media repression
  • Israel’s war crimes
  • Right to health and hospitalization
  • Armenian genocide
  • Prisoners’ rights
  • Social justice
  • Women’s rights
  • Freedom of expression


Data Display


It is important to acknowledge that the data collected in this process may not be exhaustive. Nonetheless, despite its inherent limitations, the gathered data provides a foundation for generating hypotheses concerning the discourse surrounding human rights issues. This analysis specifically focuses on human rights, journalists’ rights, and freedom of speech within the public political discourse throughout January 2024.

Figure 1. Distribution of data across Members of Parliament

Figure 2. Distribution of data across political parties and groups

Figure 3. Distribution of data based on group type


Figure 4. Distribution of data across theme of statement


Table 1. Distribution of data across theme of statement and group name




Among the 105 statements, a noteworthy emphasis was placed on the situation in Palestine, as explained in the introduction. Additionally, 20 statements were dedicated to impunity in Lebanon, with 18 of them related to the Beirut blast investigation while the remaining two revolved around social security. Although the right to education was highlighted in previous months, in January 2024 a significant number of 19 statements addressed it. Moreover, 11 statements addressed media repression.


To gain a deeper understanding of the political landscape and identify the most vocal groups on human rights in January 2024, an examination of the total count of statements made by each group proves insightful. The following tables provide an overview of these findings:

Table 2. Ranking based on absolute numbers - five political groups with highest numbers of statements


Table 3. Ranking based on relative numbers - from the political group with the highest percentage of members who made statements to the one with the lowest percentage


Table 4. Ranking of the top-10 MPs who shared most statements from June 2022 till January 2024


Notably, in the current month, MP Mark Daou released 10 statements concerning human rights, while MP Paula Yaacoubian issued nine.


MP Mark Daou maintains his lead in the cumulative number of statements made since June 2022.

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